Volume 51 - Number 2 - 2010 | DOI: 10.5032/jae.2010.02081



The complexity of leading, specifically leading an academic department, is daunting. Nationally, there has been an increase in open department head positions, but also a lack of faculty interest in making the move from faculty member to administrator. Skill level of chosen department heads in leadership varies, but the majority of academic administrators are not chosen because of their leadership knowledge, skills, or abilities. This generative study looked at the conceptualization of the phenomenon of "leadership development" by department heads in Colleges of Agriculture at Land–Grant Universities in order to gain an understanding of the experience of department heads in leadership development. Inductive and deductive analytic procedures led to four categorical themes: prior experience with leadership development, leadership training, leadership education, and leadership development. Sub–themes indicated the complexity of the main themes and offered a more focused view from the department heads.

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