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Leading Community Colleges Through a Pandemic: The Lived Experience of One Administration During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Jennifer A McConville, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The purpose of this research study was to generate a grounded theory based on the lived experience of community college leaders at Lake Washington Institute of Technology in Kirkland, Washington, when they were faced with the challenges of COVID-19. The study examined the lived experience of community college leaders addressing a significant, extended crisis. This study focused on the administration’s response to critical incidents throughout a specified time period. Through the interviews of eight executive cabinet members, along with emails, documents, internal and external pieces of communication, this study told the story of the lived experiences of this team and how this information guided me to five explanations or findings of this study. Those explanations are: 1. LWTech President purposely prepared a team2. LWTech President intentionally built a leadership team from individuals with attributes that indicated they could work within a team 3. LWTech president developed trust with each individual on the cabinet4. The LWTech President and the cabinet developed trust with each other5. Operating as a team, the LWTech cabinet effectively navigated the pandemic and managed the crisisThese five main explanations of the processes used by the LWTech executive cabinet demonstrate how the team successfully navigated an extended crisis on their campus. This success was revealed through this research by different examples. One example of this was the completion of all classes and labs to ensure students could complete their programs and degrees without delay. The team also used the crisis to change institutional practices and policies for long-term improvement, including new technology for faculty, students, and staff campus-wide. The executive team was able to make these decisions and navigate this crisis successfully because of the foundation already established and trust built among the team.

Subject Area

Educational administration

Recommended Citation

McConville, Jennifer A, "Leading Community Colleges Through a Pandemic: The Lived Experience of One Administration During the Covid-19 Pandemic" (2022). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI29261418.