Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Dr. Byron K. Hargrove

Second Supervisor

Dr. Janice Kelly


For over 100 years, community colleges have provided access to a college education that helps citizens become fuller participants in democracy. In response to the recent crisis of low rates of student retention and graduation, community college leaders have instituted holistic student supports strategies to improve student success. In March 2020, COVID-19 presented an additional challenge to community college retention and graduation rates, creating a second crisis to which community colleges had to adapt and respond. This qualitative research case study on leadership and crisis management shed light on the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on a community college and the adaptations a senior leadership team made to maintain their holistic student supports initiative during the first 14 months of the COVID-19 crisis. Results revealed the senior leadership team accelerated their plans for the college-wide holistic student support initiative and made timely policy decisions to address the immediate challenges of ever-changing mandates imposed from outside federal and state agencies, the “new” remote workplace, and threats to student enrollment. Senior leadership teams are recommended to (a) build a collaborative team environment to prepare for future crises on campus; (b) invest more resources in communication professionals and technology to communicate better during the next crisis; (c) add designated human resources and public relations professionals to the senior leadership team to address the needs and concerns of faculty and staff during a crisis; and (d) implement a holistic employee support initiative.

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Education Commons