Performance and pressure : a mixed methodological study on the coping and managing of community college CEOs




Cantu, Karla Irasema

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Coping with stress is essential for a CEO to remain effective as a leader of a community college. The mastery of self-development techniques for CEOs, visualization techniques for CEOs, and techniques which teach the CEOs to master Building Allies are essential tools for CEOs to provide vision and direction for community college. In the mid-1990s, California was going through an economic crisis. The tax base was significantly reduced resulting in the reduction of allocated funds for the local communities. The reduction of public funds limited the availability of social and health services, and community college programs. The economic disruption ultimately lead to employee layoffs, business closures and home foreclosures. (Wady, 1998) The unstable economic environment created many challenges for Chief Executive Officers (CEO)s at the California community colleges that led to stress for the CEOs Several researchers have examined how these changes have affected the CEOs in the types of stress produced, and more importantly, how the CEOs cope with this stress. In 1998, Dr. Gwendolyn Wady conducted a study on the coping skills of California Community College administrators. "The purpose of Wady's study was to identify and describe the administrative stresses and coping strategies utilized by administrators in the California Community College System to manage the job pressures associated with the execution of their official job functions. The administrative job leaders had to occupy a position of Executive, Managerial, and administrative category and must be a member of the Association of California Community College Administrators The outcome from the data indicated that there were significantly differences between coping strategies utilized by community college administrators. There were no significant differences in the selection of coping strategies in relation to personal background (age, years of experience, etc.) Successful administrators tended to use a variety of coping strategies to reduce stress dependent on their personality and type of job pressure."(Wady, p.7, 1998) The findings in Wady's study clearly indicated that the coping approach most selected by the majority of the community college administrators were strategies in the problem-solving category and the least beneficial stress-reducing techniques were postponing the activity. Wady concluded the study with a recommendation that the study be replicated in other states. This current study is designed to examine how community college CEOs in Texas are experiencing stresses, with the added problems caused by the economic crisis and a drastic increase in enrollment. During the past four or five decades, community colleges have experienced expediential growth (Hagedorn, 2010). They are often viewed as a stepping-stone to the fouryear College or university for those students who required an institution closer to home or for other reasons. Now community colleges are seen as a way to enhance skills, learn new skills, and better prepare for the future during severe economic times (Kolesnikova, 2009). Due to dramatic increases in unemployment and the need for retraining new job skills, community colleges are being overwhelmed with new students who are taxing the basic services of these institutions. Administrators are facing problems such as; overcrowded classes, community college faculty are being required to teach extra classes, and students not getting the courses offered to them in a timely fashion, delaying the completion of degrees. (Inside Higher Ed).



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