Faculty perceptions of presidential leadership in urban school reform
McClendon, Rodney Prescott
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The study examined urban university faculty members? perceptions of their presidents? leadership role in urban school reform. The population for this study consisted of faculty members from five urban research universities. All of the universities are members of the Great Cities? Universities (GCU) coalition, an alliance of 19 public urban research universities that are collaborating to address educational challenges in their communities. The study entailed a purposive sample with universities chosen on the basis of their membership in the GCU. The subjects were 245 faculty members from colleges of education and colleges of arts and sciences at the five urban research universities. All participants completed the Urban Faculty Questionnaire (UFQ), a confidential, web-based questionnaire designed by the researcher. The questionnaire consisted of five statements about general perceptions of urban school reform, 30 statements about perceptions of the university presidents? leadership roles in the specific institutions? urban school reform initiatives, eight statements regarding personal characteristics and a section for optional additional comments. The statements corresponded to seven internal scales of analysis. The seven scales were (a) Perceptions of Urban School Reform, (b) University Structure and Culture, (c) Presidential Awareness, (d) Internal Relationships, (e) External Relationships, (f) Resources and Support and (g) Accountability and Recognition. The data show faculty believe urban schools need reform. Faculty also believe universities located in urban communities should be involved actively in urban school reform. Faculty generally do not take personal responsibility, however, for urban school reform initiatives at their universities. Faculty seem more aware of their presidents? external relationships than their internal relationships in urban school reform. Faculty tend to agree that their presidents build strong relationships with the local business community and with the local political community; however, they tend only somewhat to agree that their presidents build strong relationships with local public school representatives and local families and citizens. The study also reveals that no statistically significant difference exists in faculty perceptions of their presidents? leadership in urban school reform by the faculty members? academic college, academic rank, years of service at their current institutions, highest academic degree earned, gender and ethnicity.