This qualitative study was designed to discover what community college trustees believe are the most effective leadership attributes. Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees were asked to list in, order of importance, the most effective community college board of trustee leadership attributes. The research questions emphasized the importance of the leadership attributes that occur when board trustees must complete community college goals given the recent increased student enrollment, despite diminished college budgetary resources. The theoretical framework of Stogdill (1974) was used for trait theory, Hersey, Blanchard and Dewey (2012) for situational leadership, and Burns (1978) for transformational leadership. The study examined the issue of increased student enrollment coupled with decreased community colleges' annual budgets. The slowing economy and legislative spending affected the State of California's budget, creating a deficit and appropriations challenge. The budgetary shortfalls negatively affected academia and student development programs. People depend on the community college system to receive a college education, obtain an AA degree, transfer to a university, or enter the workforce. In the literature review, a brief history of California community colleges is provided to illustrate how institutions of higher education and governing boards were established. As a needs assessment tool, Dr. Schmieder-Ramirez's (2001) SPELIT power matrix was particularly useful for capturing the driving forces at work at community colleges. The SPELIT power matrix helped to structure the literature review by making intelligible the social, political, economic, legal, intercultural, and technological environments of the community college system.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Community college trustees; Community colleges -- California -- Administration; Educational leadership; Community colleges -- California -- Finance

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Schmieder-Ramirez, June;