Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Jeannine Dingus-Eason

Second Supervisor

Ruth Harris


The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the frequency in which presidential assistants in higher education institutions engaged in Kouzes and Posner’s five practices of exemplary leadership and in the managerial functions performed daily to meet the needs of the strategic goals and objectives of their institutions. There is limited research on the position of presidential assistants, which has existed for more than 40 years, and it is important to learn about this critical role and its impact at colleges and universities. Due to the complex challenges facing higher education institutions, presidents of colleges and universities need to rely more than ever on the talents of presidential assistants to assist them in implementing institutional strategic goals and objectives, and to help them manage daily operations. The participants for this study consisted of presidential assistants who reported directly to public college and university presidents within a large state higher education system in the Northeastern United States. In this study, an online survey instrument, including Kouzes and Posner’s Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) Self-Assessment was utilized. The results of this study revealed that the managerial functions of presidential assistants varied based on demographic and professional characteristics. A vast amount of their time is expended daily on solving problems and collaborating with others to meet rapidly changing demands. The LPI assessment revealed that presidential assistants effectively use leadership practices daily when interacting with internal constituents. As a result of this study, recommendations for practice are provided including professional development to enhance the leadership skills of presidential assistants.

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