Understanding the Lived Experience: The Motivations Influencing Academic Deans in Midwestern Two-year Colleges to Persist in Educational Leadership
Tweedy, Marsha M.
University of Wisconsin--Stout
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This qualitative study was intended to provide an understanding of the lived experiences of academic deans within their leadership role at two-year Midwestern colleges. Through semistructured interviews and a systematic data reduction process, it examined the motivations these leaders use to persist in their leadership role as an academic dean while discovering the challenges facing mid-level leadership in two-year institutions. Nine participants were selected by a purposeful stratified sampling method and represented three states: Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The results revealed the lived experiences of academic deans are complex, multifaceted, and individualized, yet commonalities are clearly portrayed by the powerful motivational factors they shared. The motivational factors are tied by their end goal being a passion for the success of the two-year college. The motivational factors for the persistence of academic deans in the Midwest are: the success of students, carrying out the mission of the twoyear college, doing good work as a leader, and their relationship with faculty in the organization. From a phenomenological perspective, “what” the academic deans experience in their role may be unique to them as individuals, but “how” they experience it emotionally indicates many similarities among them.