Date of Award

Summer 6-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Cindy Petersen

Second Advisor

Keith Larick

Third Advisor

Barbara Bartels


Purpose: The purpose of this explanatory mixed methods study was to identify and describe what exemplary female presidents in California community colleges do to stay grounded and maintain physical, emotional, intellectual, social, vocational, and spiritual health.

Methodology: This mixed methods study identified and described the perceptions of 16 women presidents in the California Community Colleges system regarding strategies they use to remain grounded in their current positions. Respondents were purposively chosen based on specific criteria. Data were gathered through the Stay Grounded survey from 16 participants and interviews with 5 of the participants. Quantitative data were tabulated to determine mean scores, frequency distributions, and standard deviations. Qualitative data were organized into 19 themes.

Findings: Analysis of the data revealed 6 findings related to all areas of grounded health. Exemplary female presidents in the California community colleges stay grounded through strategies. They practice mind-body awareness, have high emotional intelligence and awareness, create collaboration through active listening and being open-minded, are authentic and transparent to build stronger relationships, value serving others, and above all stay grounded by their commitment to the community college mission.

Conclusions: Five conclusions were drawn from the data and findings. The conclusions are that exemplary female California community college presidents (a) use physical activity to create workplace relationships and foster rewards beyond health, (b) practice mind-body awareness to manage stress and conflict, (c) model emotional awareness and self-control that builds a culture of trust, (d) use active listening and intentional inclusion to create a collaborative culture, and (e) intentionally support other leaders on their leadership journey.

Recommendations: Further research is recommended to compare this study by gender, different levels of administration, and different college systems; during a time of non-COVID-19 restrictions; on specific grounded areas of health that had notable results in this study; and in a meta-analysis on the thematic research team’s findings.

Keywords: women, college presidents, presidential turnover, California community colleges, higher education, women in academic leadership, barriers to women in leadership, grounded leaders, grounded health, wellness, leadership, stress, higher education, CEO retention.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.