Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

Mimi Wolverton

Number of Pages



The purpose of this study was threefold: to extend existing knowledge of McDaniel's (2002) qualitative inquiry of higher education leadership competencies by testing her theory using quantitative methods; to either affirm or create a new, more refined model of higher education leadership competencies based on the results of the data analysis; and finally, to compare the similarities and differences of important competencies necessary for effective leadership between and within three groups of leaders in higher education: athletics directors (ADs), senior student affairs officers (SSAOs), and chief academic officers (CAOs); Goodness of fit results indicated McDaniel's 4-category model of higher education leadership competencies (context, content, process, and communication) was a marginal fit, at best (IFI = .730, CFI = .726, RMSEA = .070). Therefore, a new more refined model, called the Higher Education Leadership Competencies Model (HELC Model), was developed using factor analysis statistical procedures. Five categories emerged and were labeled by the researcher as analytical, communication, student affairs, behavioral, and external relations. Goodness of fit indices for the HELC Model (1171= .862, CFI = .860, RMSEA = .062) suggested a better fit than McDaniel's model; Between and within group differences were also measured, based on the five categories of the HELC Model. For between group differences, SSAOs and CAOs ranked Analytical Leadership Competencies higher than ADs, however there was no difference between SSAOs and CAOs. SSAOs ranked Student Affairs Leadership Competencies higher than both ADs and CAOs, however, there was no difference between the level of importance between ADs and CAOs. Finally, ADs ranked External Relations Leadership Competencies higher than both SSAOs and CAOs, with no statistical difference between SSAOs and CAOs. There was no difference between groups for Communication Leadership Competencies, and Behavior Leadership Competencies; For within group differences, ADs ranked External Relations Leadership Competencies as most important for effective higher education leadership, SSAOs ranked Student Affairs Leadership Competencies as most important, and CAOs ranked Analytical, Communication, and Behavioral Leadership Competencies as most important; Responsibilities vary among athletics directors, senior student affairs officers, and chief academic officers within the greater context of higher education. As expected, groups ranked competencies associated with their own jobs higher in importance than competencies less relevant to their jobs.


Academic; Affairs; Athletics; Athletics Directors; Chief Academic Officers; Competencies; Directors; Education Higher; Higher Education Leadership Competencies; Leadership; Model; Officers; Senior; Student; Student Affairs Officers; Study

Controlled Subject

Education, Higher; School management and organization

File Format


File Size

5898.24 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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