Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)




Branford McAllister


Between 2011 and 2016, 84% of senior leaders in community colleges indicated retirement intentions and thereby exposed a need to provide better mentorship, training, and early selection of potential replacements for college executives. The purpose of this study was to determine the nature and extent of the relationships between the independent variables (mentorship, leadership training, and time in the position as dean) and the dependent variable (demonstrated leadership of academic deans in community colleges). A popular approach that describes this dynamic is Graen and Uhl-Bien's leader–member exchange theory, which was operationalized by the LMX–7 instrument. A causal–comparative design was used to assess the effects of deans' time in the position, previous mentorship, and leadership training on their LMX scores. I sent the LMX–7 to academic deans and faculty members at 1,641 of the 1,655 community colleges in the United States. Responses were received from 45 academic deans and 508 faculty members. A linear regression showed no significant correlations between the deans' leadership training, mentorship, or time in the position as academic dean and the LMX–7 score reported by their faculty. On the other hand, the findings showed that LMX scores generally were lower than was expected and suggested that gender equality may be an issue during the selection process for deans. These findings may lead to a better understanding of leadership at the community college level, the potential for beneficial research into gender inequality during dean selection, and a deeper understanding of the effect that previous leadership training, mentorship, and time as a dean have on the dean's relationship with faculty.