Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Strategic Leadership Studies


Benjamin S. Selznick

Margaret F. Sloan

Megan R. Good


The purpose of this study is to gain greater understanding of the dynamics between adaptive leadership strategy and the success of community college students. A strategic alliance formed between a community college and a college promise non-profit organization provides the complex environment to explore these phenomena. The establishment of a “Future Center” on the community college campus serves as the adaptive focal point of the study. The study’s theoretical framework is based upon the interaction of two perspectives: the ecological model of student development (Bronfenbrenner, 1979) and adaptive leadership theory (Heifetz & Laurie, 1997). Study design utilized a three-phased exploratory bidirectional framework for convergent design (Moseholm & Fetters, 2017). The qualitative portion of the study explored the emergence of adaptive leadership themes present within the case. The quantitative portion of the study assessed student success outcomes directly related to the Future Center microsystem. During the integration phase, the mixing of data occurred through the comparison and linkage of convergent and divergent findings. Study results indicate that adaptive leadership played a lead role in redefining environmental conditions within the student ecological system. The ability of community leadership to strategize effective adaptive solutions that address community needs could be an important contribution to higher education, non-profit, and leadership related research literature.



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