LEADERSHIP FOR STUDENT SUCCESS OUTCOMES: A CASE STUDY OF PRESIDENTIAL AND COMMITTEE ACTIONS AT EASTERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY
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In American Higher Education, retention and graduation rates have grown in their prominence as institutional quality indicators. Yet, when measures are interrogated for parity across racial groups, inequity in outcomes is apparent. The purpose of this study is to examine how leadership plays a role in encouraging the attainment of equitable student success outcomes for minoritized undergraduate students at a public-liberal arts university. The single, instrumental case study investigated one institution where equitable outcomes exist. To understand this particular phenomenon, decisions and actions of a president and a presidentially appointed planning committee were analyzed using Astin and Leland’s (1991) leadership model as a theoretical framework. Findings highlight that institutional health, a student-centered strategic plan, a clear presidential narrative, and collective action through effective shared governance were relevant for understanding how improvement occurred. The findings reveal that focused leadership processes centered on improved student success outcomes can propel progress toward equity. By viewing, the leader, the context, and the process that contributed to the student success outcomes, the study contributes understanding of what makes a difference in successfully leading institution toward equitable student success outcomes.
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