Cornerstones of effective practice: a case study of the El Paso Community College Leadership Development Academy

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Neal, Phillip Wayne, 1966-

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The retirement of community college administrators has led to the creation of leadership development institutes. Yet, few studies exist to understand their comprehensive design, practices, and effectiveness. The purpose of this study was to develop an understanding of, and a framework for, creating and evaluating effective leadership development institutes. The framework was applied to the El Paso Community College’s Leadership Development Academy (EPCC-LDA) to examine how its program aligned with the framework; assess the EPCC-LDA’s success in meeting its own specified goals of creating more skilled leaders; and understand better how EPCC-LDA decisions, practices, program components and forms of evaluation have led to successful outcomes. The research design followed a descriptive, case study format utilizing both qualitative and quantitative data. This study had several major findings. First, El Paso Community College demonstrated how an effective leadership development institute can be created by focusing its design and implementation on processes, core values, and human interaction. Second, the study’s analytic framework was validated through a triangulation of data: research recommendations; EPCC-LDA coordinating committee interviews; and program participant evaluations. Third, El Paso Community College was accomplishing and surpassing its mission of improving employee leadership skills. This study concluded with recommendations for the refinement of its analytic framework, for EPCC-LDA programmatic considerations, and for future studies. By instituting responsive and focused programming that continually meets the needs of the institution, the participants, and leadership in general, leadership development institutes can serve as one effective resource for increasing the flow into the community college leadership pipeline, increasing the skills of those within the pipeline, and improving the pipeline’s outflow of diverse leaders.