Defense Date


Graduation Date



Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Education Leaders (IDPEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

James E. Henderson

Committee Member

David Topper

Committee Member

Robert B. Bartos


characteristics, evaluating presidents, leadership, presidential effectiveness, search process, university president


The purpose of this study is to examine the level of congruence of the leadership qualities and characteristics desired of a new university president among the key university stakeholder groups. This study compares the six stakeholder groups involved in the presidential search--trustees, administrators, staff, faculty, alumni and students at four of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities that have conducted a presidential search within the last three years. The search committee members at the universities participating in this study were only involved in "searching" for a president. The most significant part of the process, the "selection" or naming of the president, was conducted by the governing board at the system level. McLaughlin and Riesman (1990) contend that "The best searches serve to legitimate the final choice of the search committee and the trustees so that a new president can have a smooth entrée to the presidency" (p.21). Research conducted on constituency perceptions of presidential effectiveness would lead one to hypothesize that governing boards, faculties and administrators share differences in the leadership criteria desired in a new president (Birnbaum, 1992; Fujita, 1994; Michael, Schwartz and Balraj, 2001). A purposive sample of the six constituency groups represents the stakeholders identified in Board of Governors Policy 1983-13-A as members of the presidential search committee. Since a standard list of leadership qualities and characteristics currently does not exist for presidential searches in PASSHE, criteria used to evaluate the performance of a university president was made into an online survey of thirty-nine leadership characteristics. Analysis of variance was used to evaluate mean differences between the six stakeholder groups within each university and within the same stakeholder groups between the universities. Although significant differences were found among stakeholders within and between the four universities, the stakeholders were in agreement more times than not on the leadership qualities and characteristics they desired in a new university president. Other factors beyond the leadership qualities and characteristics have an impact on the search process. Comments offered by the participants of this study provide further evidence as to what these influences are.