Date of Award


Degree Name

Educational Leadership


Graduate School of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dennis M. Anderson

Second Advisor

Frances Simone

Third Advisor

Louis K.Watts


The purpose of this study was to identify the most critical institutional policies and practices deemed essential for the effective development and governance of systemic, effective developmental education programs in community colleges through the perspective of community college administrators. This study ranked community college leaders’ ratings of what policies and practices should be implemented to improve developmental education programs. Expert opinion by the participating developmental education administrators and college presidents were compared and ranked to identify priorities for change. The results could serve as guidelines for the improvement of developmental education programs for student success in community colleges. This non-experimental, comparative research study was designed to rate the importance of identified key descriptors in three critical components of an effective developmental education program. The components studied were organization and administration, program components and instructional practices. The instrument used to collect data was the survey designed by Hunter R. Boylan for What Works: Research-Based Best Practices in Developmental Education (Boylan, 2002, 107 – 110). The inventory found in Boylan’s book (2002) was modified with author’s approval to match the educational purpose and target population of this study. A pilot study was first conducted with West Virginia developmental education practitioners to field test the survey. The target population consisted of two categories of community college administrators in the Metro West Virginia geographic area. The first group was identified as developmental education administrators, and the second group was identified as presidents of their respective community colleges. Each participant was given a pre-survey questionnaire which solicited demographic data about job titles, years of experience in higher education administration and a self-rating of interest and knowledge in the field of developmental education before administration of the online survey. After analysis of the data, several conclusions were determined. The most powerful conclusion that was reiterated throughout the results of this study was that the top priority for program improvement in developmental education reached by consensus of both community college presidents and developmental education administrators is in the area of Organization and Administration (Component 1). The next priority was found in the area of Program Components (Component 2). Both community college presidents and developmental education administrators perceived Instructional Practices (Component 3) the least critical category of need. Although there was a significant difference between the ratings of developmental education administrators and college presidents for Component 1and Component 2, the importance of developmental education reorganization and administration has been determined by the results of this study to be an institutional priority for program improvement.


Community college administrators.

Community colleges - Leadership.