Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Pamela L Eddy

Committee Member

Eugene Roche

Committee Member

Hironao Okahana


The problem of interest for this study is to understand more about the leaders of graduate education in the United States, namely the graduate deans. After surveying the topic itself and the gaps in the relevant literature, I conducted a mixed-methods study through a sequential design to fill the gap in the literature on graduate deans as mid-level academic leaders in institutional contexts and to provide theoretical and empirical evidence in advancing the knowledge on academic leaders and leadership in U.S. graduate education. The study employs multiple data collection methods, including document analysis, a survey, and multiple case studies. Demographic information on the leaders of graduate education is reported. Additionally, the survey measured the perceptions of graduate deans regarding the importance of various responsibilities of a graduate school as well as their abilities to achieve those functions at the individual, unit, and institutional levels. The quantitative findings were further supported by eight participants’ in-depth case descriptions as well as cross-case examinations. The data integration drew both survey and case study analyses and affirmed graduate deans’ leadership experiences as mid-level leaders, in addition to how individuals’ development as leaders were shaped by the context of organizations and the culture of higher education. Implications for practice and research conclude the study and should be of interest for those who are interested in advancing the U.S. graduate education as practitioners and researchers.




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