Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Roger G. Baldwin


This study was designed to investigate the importance of contemporary constraints on effective presidential leadership in higher education. The study was undertaken because this topic was found to be a neglected area in higher education literature. The intent was to fill a void and add to the present knowledge about effective presidential leadership.;The research focused on the perceptions of a stratified random sample of 400 college and university presidents from publicly and privately controlled doctoral, research, liberal arts, and comprehensive institutions. A mail-questionnaire requested personal and professional information and asked the presidents to indicate (1) their perception of the importance of thirty suggested constraints; (2) the three constraints perceived as being the most important; and (3) how frequently they found their work to be highly satisfying or extremely rewarding. A total of 232 (58%) completed questionnaires were returned.;Frequency distributions, means, and standard deviations were calculated. A one-way analysis of variance was used to test the null hypothesis. When statistically significant differences were found, Tukey's HSD test was used to determine where the differences were significant.;The findings verify that college and university presidents perceive their leadership effectiveness to be constrained by situational factors. Few statistically significant differences were found based on institutional type, control, or size; presidents' age; or length of presidential tenure. No statistically significant differences were found based on presidential gender. "Inadequate Funding," "Lack of Understanding by the Academic Community of the Demands Involved in the Exercise of Presidential Leadership," and "Role Overload" were named as the three most important constraints by the total sample. A high level of job satisfaction was reported.;Further study is needed to advance the understanding of leadership in higher education; to raise the question of how college and university presidents can adjust their behavior to increase their effectiveness in the face of contemporary constraints; and to investigate the perceptions of constituents other than presidents regarding constraints on effective academic leadership.



© The Author