Committee Chair

Miller, Ted L.

Committee Member

Carter, Pamala J.; Rausch, David W.; Livingston, Shawn D.


Dept. of Education


College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Though research into academic library director leadership has established leadership skills and qualities required for success, little research has been done to establish where in their career library directors were most likely to acquire those skills and qualities. This research project surveyed academic library directors at Carnegie-designated Master’s granting institutions about their previous library positions, and what skills and qualities they perceived to have exercised in those positions. Five research questions were assessed. RQ1: Which of the respondents’ last five positions previous to the directorship are most often represented in the path to the academic library directorship? RQ2: Which of the previous positions held by the respondents are perceived to have helped prepare directors the most for the qualities and skills required of the position? RQ3: Is the perception of library leadership skill and quality development equal across departmental experience? RQ4: What, if any position(s), appear to be the “gatekeepers” for academic librarian skill and competency development? RQ5: What are the skills most commonly perceived to be used in each department? Findings revealed that respondents perceived there to be great opportunities to exercise leadership qualities in previous positions, but few opportunities to develop more empirically measurable leadership skills. In addition, respondents perceived those skill development opportunities to be available only once working in the position of library director or in the Administration department of academic libraries.


During my journey through the Ed.D. program, I received support and encouragement from a great many people. As my advisor throughout the doctoral program, Dr. Ted Miller has served as mentor, colleague, and friend. His encouragement, enthusiasm, and service as constant gardener is in large part the reason for my finishing the program successfully. I would like to thank my committee members of Dr. David Rausch, Dr. Pam Carter, and Shawn Livingston for their support over the past few years as I moved from concept to completed research manuscript. Their encouragement, interest, and willingness to plumb the depths of the LIS literature inspired me. Since starting the program, I developed a significant chronic illness, married, and moved across the country. Any one of those might have derailed my progress; the combination was daunting. This completed product is largely a product of their patience and persistence. Many thanks also to Dr. Beth Crawford, who generously provided academic guidance, Qualtrics software assistance, feedback, and the occasional sanity-check. Becca McCashin, the ever-patient and smiling Ed.D. Program Coordinator, is responsible for my paperwork ducks being all in a row and my being eligible to graduate. My colleague and co-conspirator in the program, Ross Ian Vance, spent countless weekends serving as a sounding board for ideas, research models, and sentence structure, and providing much-needed encouragement. Finally, my thanks to all of the academic library directors who enthusiastically completed the survey to help us learn more about academic librarians, leadership, and career paths.


Ed. D.; A dissertation submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Education.




Library administrators; Academic libraries -- Administration; Academic libraries -- Leadership; Academic library directors; Library science -- Vocational guidance


academic libraries; leadership; professional development; leadership development; library directorship; work history

Document Type

Doctoral dissertations




xiii, 226 leaves





Date Available