Date of Award

Winter 2-23-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Len Hightower

Second Advisor

Christine Zeppos

Third Advisor

Kathryn Mueller


Purpose: Community colleges continue to face an ever-changing environment. California Community Colleges are confronted with state initiatives, accountability, and accreditation changes that require integrated planning processes. The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe the role of communication as perceived by community college planning committee members with regard to the strategic planning processes at California Community Colleges. A secondary purpose of this study was to explore the differences between the perceptions of administrators, faculty and classified committee members involved in planning processes at California Community Colleges.

Methodology: For this qualitative study, committee members directly involved in the planning process at California Community Colleges were interviewed. The participants included 7 administrators, 7 faculty members, and 7 classified staff members. An interview protocol and guide provided semistructured questions. Respondents were digitally recorded, and transcripts were reviewed. Triangulation included transcripts, artifacts, and the perceptions from three distinct perspectives.

Findings: All participants viewed the role of communication as a method to connect with others, as a method to ensure constituency participation, and as a method to create a meaningful process. Differences in perceptions did exist. Administrators indicated a stronger interest in process whereas classified staff expressed a stronger interest in connection. Faculty perceived the role of communication as both process and connection.

Recommendations: California Community Colleges could use this information to strengthen their planning processes by addressing the role of communication at their respective colleges. California Community Colleges need to address communication that fulfills the need for connection at the beginning of the planning process. In addition, California Community College planning committees should address why and how they will communicate planning to the committee and to the college. Such efforts will help to create a meaningful process that will enhance the overall quality of strategic planning at California Community Colleges.