This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A Presidential Curriculum: An Examination of the Relationship between Higher Education Administration Programs and Preparation towards the University Presidency




Freeman, Sydney, Jr.

Type of Degree



Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


Since the election of the first American college president in 1640—Henry Dunster of Harvard College—the position of president has been one of extreme responsibility and high visibility. There are many questions regarding how best to prepare individuals to attain this role (Chandler, 2006). Individuals come to the presidency from a variety of environments. Some come from corporations, some from governmental settings, and others come through traditional academic venues, having received doctoral degrees in an academic field of study. Recent data from the American Council of Education (2008) reported that over 40% of college and university presidents have earned a doctoral degree in either education or higher education. Graduate programs are viewed as a powerful force that not only structures the mind, but helps to shape the facts one legitimizes and how one interprets them (Brown, 2008). This study sought to examine the content and effectiveness of these programs from the perspective of university presidents who graduated from them and to formulate recommendations for improving their effectiveness in preparing future executive leaders.