The relationship between leadership frames of community college personnel and sense of belonging of community college students




Faseler Schell, Randa


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This study examined the leadership frames of college personnel and sense of belonging of college students at Southwest Texas Junior College (SWTJC). Colleges and universities play a very important role in making life better and different for every student who chooses to enter these institutions. Higher education institutions must commit to creating and maintaining environments in which students are able to obtain a sense of belonging. The investigation of these concepts has implications for higher education in the creation of a campus culture in which college personnel work effortlessly to provide students with a sustained sense of community, acceptance, and affiliation. This study examined the relationship between college personnel leadership frames (political, human resource, structural, & symbolic) and sense of belonging at a community college in rural, southwest Texas. It looked at the relationship between college personnel leadership frames and student sense of belonging as a means for gaining a deeper understanding of the factors that make students successful. Statistical analysis of the research questions showed few statistically significant results. Analysis of the first research question (leadership frames) showed one statistically significant result in the political frame between employees working in continuing education/workforce and employees working in administrative/business services. Analysis of the second research question (sense of belonging) showed differences in the areas of peer support and isolation, but with low effect size. Analysis of research question three showed mixed results. The human resources frame had the highest mean score and was predictive of sense of belonging, however, it showed a low level of explanation of sense of belonging and low predictive values. While the analysis of the four frames provided insight into the characteristics of the personnel and analysis of the sense of belonging provided insight into the needs of the students, the analysis of the relationship between the two failed to help understand what leadership behaviors may be more successful in fostering sense of belonging among students. However, the study did underscore several key areas including differences among student groups and negative relationships between certain leadership behaviors and sense of belonging.



community college, educational leadership, higher education, leadership frames, sense of belonging, sense of community



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