Date of Conferral







Patricia Fusch


Senior administrators' retirement rates between 2012 and 2022 will create a shortage of community college leaders. The purpose of this qualitative exploratory case study was to explore how the mentoring programs at community colleges may contribute to the career advancement of potential academic leaders for senior leadership positions. Kram's mentor role theory grounded the study. Data collection included semistructured face-to-face interviews with a purposeful sample of 3 academic, senior administrative leaders from 3 North Carolina community colleges who have participated in leadership mentoring programs, a review of organizational documents, and a review of the literature. Using Yin's 5 step analytic strategy approach, the 9 themes that emerged were leadership development programs, formal mentoring, internal mentoring program configurations, mentoring challenges, succession planning, importance of mentoring in community colleges, informal mentoring, professional development program, and benefits of mentoring. The results from this qualitative study might increase social change efforts focused on developing potential academic leaders for senior leadership positions by contributing insights, strategies, and new knowledge about the benefits of mentoring programs and succession planning. Having trained community college leaders might increase student enrollment and graduation rates.