Perceptions of selected senior administrators of higher education institutions in Mexico regarding needed administrative competencies



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Texas A&M University


Higher education institutions have an important role in changing societies; those in developing countries present an ample spectrum of differences, particularities, and needs. The role that senior administrators play as managers of those institutions is fundamental in the decision making process; consequently, it is very important that those administrators possess the needed attributes during the development of their endeavors. The purpose of this study is to identify the competencies needed by senior administrators in higher education institutions in Mexico, as current administrators project them. The naturalistic paradigm of inquiry was used to frame the study and acquire and analyze data. The sample consisted of twenty senior administrators from eight Mexican higher education institutions. The researcher visited those campuses on three trips between June 2001 and March 2002. Data came from three sources: interviews with respondents; observation of participants before, during, and after the interview sessions; and analysis of records and documents. Data from interviews were unitized and sorted into categories. Some of the conclusions of the researcher included: ?Social forces and trends inside and outside of Mexican higher education institutions are pushing the need for a senior administrator with a broad understanding of the national situation, with the resources to support the national initiatives, and with the ability to make appropriate responses in their own institutions. ?Identified needed competencies for the future higher education senior administrator are organized by personal characteristics and skills, administrative competencies, competencies of social responsibility, and institutional competencies. ?Public university leaders believe that they face more difficult situations in their institutions that their private institution counterparts in order to adapt and change. ?Differences between and within public and private higher education institutions in Mexico make evident the need for specific training for their senior administrators to achieve professional development necessary to the specific needs of their institutions.