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A single retrospective case study of the first minority administrator at a Midwestern community college

Roger W Wagner, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The purpose of this single case study was to explore the complexities, events, and issues experienced by the first minority administrator at a Midwestern college. In addition to the minority administrator specified in this study, two additional administrators were also invited to participate in order to facilitate the reliability of the research. The participants were purposely selected. Persistent observations and open-ended interviews with the administrators were conducted for data collection. A qualitative approach was utilized since it is naturalistic, flexible and inductive. The researcher used a case-study approach to gather detailed, systematic information on the minority administrator. The data gathering process took place over a five month period. ^ Data analysis was conducted simultaneously with data collection. A combination of open and axial coding was utilized and as themes emerged they were placed in categories and subcategories to shape the written response. Member checks, triangulation, reflective journaling, informant participation, and an external auditor were used to validate findings. The use of pseudonyms was utilized to protect the confidentiality of the participants. ^ The findings were discussed under five categories: interactions and relationship building, challenges and difficulties, changing role, personal impact, and professional impact. The findings indicated that even thought the administrator felt prepared for a transition into a predominately white institution an adequate support system is needed. The assignment of a mentor would have created greater opportunities for success in the development of institutional relationships. The challenges and difficulties that the new administrator encountered were not predictable. The culture of the surrounding community had a greater than anticipated impact on the administrator's transition. The introduction of the new administrator created uncertainty for the staff. The lack of institutional relationships created a sense of isolation and loneliness. ^ In conclusion, the study adds a unique body of knowledge to the existing literature on minority administrators at predominately white institutions. The design of the study allows the reader to see these experiences through the eyes of the administrator. ^

Subject Area

Education, Community College|Education, Administration|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

Recommended Citation

Wagner, Roger W, "A single retrospective case study of the first minority administrator at a Midwestern community college" (2007). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3284005.