Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




The purpose of this study was to determine whether career patterns of collegiate administrators could be explained in terms of existing organizational models of academic institutions.;The study involved a secondary analysis of data collected in the summer of 1981 in a statewide survey of collegiate administrators. The target population consisted of all the middle level administrators (N = 617) at the director level or above from thirty-three state-supported and independent colleges and universities from the Commonwealth of Virginia. A strict adherence to the Dillman "total design method" resulted in a response rate of 76.5 percent.;Previous studies which had employed the narrow concept of career ladder had generally found career patterns in collegiate administration to be less defined than in industry or the military. to address the inadequacy of the career ladder concept, a broader concept, "career field" was introduced in this study. Three organizational models were chosen and the subdivisions of each were defined as career fields. Administrator titles were assigned to each career field of each of the three models by a panel of experts employing a Q-Sort technique.;The results of this research show that, when all career positions are included, positions held by respondents prior to entering collegiate administration tend to mask existent career patterns.;For academic administrators, most of their pre-administrator positions had been in teaching faculty or higher education related roles. The study confirmed that the academic administrator career field continues to be quite different due to its inextricable link to professorial career patterns. The study also found that among non-academic administrators, patterns of pre-administrator positions varied by the career fields of each model.;Among academic and non-academic administrators alike, there was little evidence of people leaving administration and then returning.;A significant but unexpected finding of the study was that many administrators carry on other career pursuits concomitantly. Previous career research may have been distorted by concomitant positions as well as pre-administrator positions. This finding points to the need for better definitions and stricter composition of career research instruments.



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