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Volume 46, Number 1
Spring 2009


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Job Tasks Performed By Career Preparation System Administrators In One Midwestern State: Implications For Leadership Development

Julia VanderMolen
Davenport University

Richard Zinzer
Western Michigan University

Abstract

There is a need to prepare new leaders in Career and Technical Education due to retirements and because the job demands have changed over the years. In order to verify the curriculum for leadership development programs, a study was conducted to measure the importance and frequency of job tasks performed by Career Preparation System administrators in the state of Michigan. A mailed survey based on a previous Developing a Curriculum (DACUM) study generated a 72% response rate. The analysis illustrates the job priorities and time commitments of these leaders. Significant differences were observed in the perceptions among administrators from various types of organizations. A relationship between the frequency and importance of job tasks was also revealed. The results of the study support the need for structured leadership development programs for Career and Technical Education administrators.

Introduction

This study examined the importance and frequency of job tasks performed by Career Preparation System (CPS) administrators by quantifying their perception of the duty areas based on previous Developing a Curriculum (DACUM) studies (Norton, 1977; Woloszyk & Manley, 2001). Shibles (1988), reporting for the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) Subcommittee on the Preparation of School Administrators, indicated that school administrators will become rapidly outdated “if their preparation programs in colleges and departments of education do not respond to the calls for change in preparing them for professional leadership functions.” (p. 1).

As the educational leader, the principal can establish an environment that is acceptable to change, or one that impedes the change initiative. According to Evans and Teddie (1993) many research studies point to the building principal as the most critical leadership determinant in educational change. Evans and Teddie noted that the building principals are the change facilitators. The role of the high school principal has expanded to include the responsibilities of designing, managing, and implementing curricular change efforts (Praisner, 2003). Due to their leadership role, principals’ perceptions and attitudes about a new curriculum could either result in increased educational opportunities for students or in limited efforts to introduce curricular change (Praisner, 2003). When implementing curricular change, “a principal’s leadership is seen as the key factor for success.” (Praisner, p. 135).

From a national perspective, the problem of providing effective administrative skills in Career and Technical Education (CTE) is not new. Over a decade ago, Moss and Liang (1990) reported that vocational education programs did not have the number of leaders that were urgently needed then nor was there a systematic effort to develop additional leaders. At the local level, few school systems have made it a priority to identify and groom potential leaders despite a wave of impending retirements and chronic difficulties in available candidates (Olson, 2000). This crisis in administrative development of CTE leaders is an issue at the local, state, and federal levels. Yet limited educational research has been done to determine the relevance of CTE leadership development programs. Sustainability can also be a problem: innovative programs are frequently started but then fail due to the lack of instructors and sufficient funding (Chenoweth, 2002; Hess, 2005; Jackson, 2001)

The purpose of this study was to investigate and determine the necessary components to develop and improve leadership development programs for CTE leaders. Today’s CTE leaders should be prepared to handle a host of responsibilities and challenges such as academic integration and accountability emphasized in Perkins (Perkins, 2006). The 2006 Carl D. Perkins Act has been authorized for six years and is expected to allocate approximately 1.3 billion dollars in federal aid to CTE programs in all 50 states (ACTE, 2006). This legislation places greater accountability on integration of academic standards, which is aligned directly with the “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) movement. Perkins IV is ultimately intended to strengthen the focus on responsiveness to the economy; while tightening up the accountability statement in regards to the integration of academics and technical standards. Current initiatives on CPS administrators’ agendas include business and financial management, facilities and equipment management, integration of academic and CTE programs, instructional management, organizational improvement, personnel management, professional staff development, program planning, development and evaluation, recordkeeping, school-community relations, and student services (Western Michigan University, 2006).

Literature Review and Conceptual Framework for the Study

Shortage of CTE Administrators

The shortage of CTE administrators has been described as a complex, imminent, and far-reaching problem (Zirkle & Cotton, 2001). Administration has been and continues to be a topic within the realm of education for a number of years and controversy surrounds the ever-growing shortage of school administrators. Numerous studies have documented the nationwide shortage of public school administrators (Gilman & Lanman-Givens, 2001; Growe, Fontenot, & Montgomery, 2003; Lashway, 2003; Potter, 2001; Schults, 2001). Whether due to stress, increased workload, salary issues, or increased accountability, the recruitment and retention of qualified candidates for administrative positions continues to be a problem (McNeil & Wilmore, 1999). The purpose of the study was not to document the shortage but rather to validate a list of professional development skills needed by CPS administrators today and in the near future.

Needed Skills and Competencies for CTE Administrators

A number of definitions have been used to describe the responsibilities of CTE administrators. The functions of administration within a vocational setting included curriculum and program planning; management of instruction; student development services; personnel administration; fiscal and physical planning and management; building and constituency; and evaluation, accountability, and research (Wenrich & Wenrich, 1974). Bentley (1977) explained the different areas that vocational administrators should pay attention to for operating a successful vocational education program. According to Bentley, vocational administrators need to be able to

organize an advisory committee, determine community needs, prepare facilities, purchase and install equipment, locate and obtain funding, prepare proposals, evaluate, recruit, and train vocational personnel, develop or select curriculum, establish rapport with teachers, develop budgets and fiscal management strategies, perform periodic program evaluation, and promote and update programs. (p. 96).

Baker and Selman (1985) cited Swanson, who defined CTE administration as follows.

It is the process of planning, organizing and operating an educational activity for achieving the objective of the activity. There must be some organized manner for allocating the financial, material, and personnel resources which are available to an activity. There must be some method of developing policy, coordinating activities, and assessing the achievement of the use of these resources in relation to the goals of the activity. This process is administration. (p. 47).

Valentine (1979) clarified and determined the responsibilities for administrative tasks performed by local vocational education administrators in Colorado. The data were collected from local vocational school directors and their superintendents, as well as from two- and four-year postsecondary deans/directors of occupational education and their presidents. Valentine’s results indicated that the key duties for vocational administrators included the following: “(a) business and financial management, (b) facilities and equipment, (c) program planning, development and evaluation, (c) instructional management, (d) student services, (e) personnel management, (f) community-school relations, (g) professional relations.” (p. 152).

A study by Savio (1981) examined the competencies needed by local administrators of Michigan vocational education programs. Savio utilized the Administrators Inventory, an instrument developed by Norton (1977). This instrument was administered to 28 Michigan vocational administrators at the secondary, postsecondary, and career-education- planning district levels to verify the importance of 191 CTE administrative tasks, as well as to determine the level of training required for each task. The participants ranked evaluation of instructional programs effectiveness as the most important task of CTE administrators. Other highly rated task areas included professional relations and self-development, as well as business and financial management.

Finch and McGough (1991) reported that, for vocational administrators to be effective, they have to effectively perform administrative, supervisory, and leadership activities and responsibilities that are central to vocational education. The authors defined the roles of vocational education leaders from a three-dimensional standpoint: the human dimension, the environmental dimension, and the task dimension. Finch and McGough identified the four basic elements of the task dimension as planning, development, management, and evaluation.

In summary, several earlier studies based on leadership theory identified the duties and tasks, and therefore the skills and competencies needed, for vocational administrators. Those studies were used as the framework for the current research which sought to advance the current practice of vocational leadership. Table 1 shows a summary of the needed management skills and competencies for CPS or CTE administrators.

Table 1.
Summary of Needed Management Skills and Competencies for CTE Administrators
Management Skill Author/Researcher
Business & Financial Management Bentley; Finch and McGough; Woloszyk and Manley; Savio; Valentine; Wenrich and Wenrich
Facilities & Equipment Bentley Finch and McGough; Woloszyk and Manley, Savio; Wenrich and Wenrich
Instructional Management Woloszyk and Manley; Savio; Valentine
Personnel Management Bentley; Finch and McGough; Woloszyk and Manley; Valentine; Wenrich and Wenrich
Professional & Staff Development Woloszyk and Manley; Savio; Valentine
Program Planning, Development, & Evaluation Baker and Selman; Bentley; Finch and McGough; Woloszyk and Manley; Savio; Valentine; Wenrich and Wenrich
School-Community Relations Baker and Selman; Bentley; Woloszyk and Manley; Valentine
Student Services Finch and McGough; Woloszyk and Manley Valentine; Wenrich and Wenrich
Organizational Management Woloszyk and Manley
Integration of Academic and CTE Programs Woloszyk and Manley
Recordkeeping Woloszyk and Manley

Context of the Study

Based on the need for current administrators and the need to update the leadership development curriculum, the State of Michigan should prepare quality Career Preparation System (CPS) leaders with the ability to handle today’s challenges and opportunities along with the flexibility to adapt to future directives. To organize this study of leadership development of local CPS administrators, the researcher utilized the findings of a DACUM panel developed by Woloszyk and Manley (2001), which examined the importance and frequency of job tasks performed by CPS administrators. From an analysis of job descriptions of current CPS administrators, the DACUM panel established 11 general duty areas: Business and Financial, Facilities and Equipment Management, Integration of Academic and CTE Programs; Instructional Management; Organizational Improvement; Personnel Management; Professional and Staff Development; Program Planning; Development and Evaluation; Recordkeeping; School-Community Relations, and Student Services (Woloszyk & Manley, 2001). These 11 duty areas were used as a framework for this study and the development of the survey instrument.

Research and Design

Research Questions

The purpose of this study was to investigate the importance and the frequency of job tasks performed by CPS administrators in the State of Michigan as a conceptual basis for leadership development programs. The study was comprised of questions derived from 11 duty areas by a DACUM study developed by Woloszyk and Manley (2001). The 11 duty areas were further divided into 51 specific job tasks. The DACUM process provided a framework for research design to identify what skills CPS administrators needed. The following research questions were formulated from the DACUM process outcomes:

  1. What are the job titles, organization type, and years of experience of the CPS administrators?
  2. What are the important job tasks and frequencies of those tasks identified and performed by CPS administrators?
  3. Are there significant differences on the importance and frequency of job tasks between job categories?
  4. Is there a significant relationship between administrators’ number of years of experience and their perceptions of the importance and frequency of the job tasks they perform?

Population

The entire population of CPS administrators within the state of Michigan was invited to participate in the study, therefore representing a census of the population of interest rather than a sample. The Michigan Department of Career Development (MDCD) was contacted to obtain a current list of CPS administrators from the state of Michigan. The list contained 120 administrators from the 2002-2003 academic year. The list was divided into five distinct groupings or job categories. The first group consisted of all Area Center Director/Principal from the K-12 school systems. The second group consisted of all the CTE directors from local K-12 school systems including technical centers and K-12 consortiums. The third group consisted of all the occupational deans from Michigan community colleges. The fourth group consisted of all the shared-time CTE administrators from the K-12 system. The final group consisted of other CTE administrators (which includes one blank returned survey) (i.e., vice-president academic affairs, assistant principal and regional CTE administrator, career preparation coordinator, intermediate school district (ISD) administrator, ISD superintendent, assistant superintendent, assistant superintendent-CTE, regional administrator, regional/county ISD-CTE administrator). Shared-time and the “other” category were not defined in the original census. However, it should be noted that participants returned the survey with these additional job types. The census consisted of 120 (n = 120) CPS administrators.

Instrumentation

A nationwide instrument developed in 1977 by Norton et al. and modified in 1987 by Norton identified competencies needed by vocational administrators at both secondary and postsecondary institutions. This instrument, the Job Task Survey for CPS Administrators, came about as a result of the realization that the effective training of local administrators had been disadvantaged by the limited knowledge of the necessary skill sets needed by local administrators and by limited availability of competency-based materials specifically designed for the preparation of vocational administrators (Norton, 1983). The current study modified the Job Task Survey for CPS Administrators to include task categories identified by a 2001 DACUM study conducted by Manly and Woloszyk.

A mailed survey was used to collect data. The survey was constructed in two parts for data collection. Part I included a collection of demographic data on participants. Part II was made up of 11 duty areas with 51 job tasks to solicit participants’ perceptions on the importance and the frequency of job assignment information. A graphic rating scale was used to improve on the vagueness of numerical rating scales: (level of importance of a job task ranged from 4-Very Important to 1-Not Important and the frequency with which they performed a job task within a duty area ranged from 5-Daily to 2-Yearly). A graphic rating scale describes each of the characteristics to be rated and places them on a horizontal line on which the subject is to place a check. (Fraenkel, 2000).

Data Collection

A survey packet was mailed to Michigan’s CPS administrators. Each mailed survey packet contained a cover letter requesting the administrators’ participation in the study, the survey instrument, and a timeframe reminder sheet on the return of the survey instrument. The survey took approximately 20 minutes to complete. A self-addressed, stamped envelope was also included in the packet for return of the completed survey.

The survey instrument contained a code in the upper right corner and was matched with an administrator’s name in the database from the MDCD. Once the survey was returned, the name was removed from the database, which ensured confidentiality of the respondent. This method of coding also helped to ensure that no respondent was mailed a second survey. The returned surveys were then checked off against the database. A second survey mailing was sent to administrators who had not responded to the first mailing after 4 weeks. Out of the 120 CPS administrators who were mailed the survey, 86 or 72% returned the surveys.

Findings

Research Question 1: Demographics

This research question elicited information on demographic data (job title, organization type, and years of experience) of 86 CPS administrators within the state of Michigan or 72% of the administrators participating in the study. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the collected data.

Table 2
Responses by Job Type
Job Type Total in Census Frequency (Total Number Returned) Percent Response Rate Percent of Responses
Area Center Director/Principal 49 27 55 31
Local CTE Director 43 22 51 26
Community College Dean 28 21 75 24
Shared-Time CTE Director   3   4
Other   13   15
Total 120 86   100
Note Job title represents 50% or more of the job assignment

Hammond, Muffs, and Sciascia (2001), in a national survey, found that the majority of active elementary and secondary school principals, whose median age was 50, planned to retire by 57. Forty-eight (57%) of Michigan CPS administrators in this study had 10-14 and 15 or more years of experience. Based on typical career stages this may indicate that participants with 15 years or more of administrative experience may also soon be retiring. The demographic data showed that local CTE Directors and Area Center Directors and Principals will be the groups with the largest number of retirements in coming years. Among community college deans, the years of experience were spread more evenly. Table 2 illustrates the distribution of the census of the study.

Research Question 2: Importance and Frequency

This research question sought to determine the level of importance and frequency of the 51 job tasks within the 11 duty areas, as perceived by the CPS administrators. The duty areas are shown in Tables 3 and 4.

Within each duty area, the CPS administrators’ perceptions of the level of importance of a job task ranged from 4 (Very Important) to 1 (Not Important) on the Likert type Scale. The frequency with which they performed a job task within a duty area ranged from 5 (Daily) to 2 (Yearly). Those who responded that the duty area did not apply (1 on the survey form) were coded “missing” and left out of the calculations. The actual number of CPS administrators who responded often varied from question to question within each duty area.

Importance. The duty areas were generally rated “Very Important” to “Important” by CPS administrators. The duty areas that were most important to CPS administrators were I: Recordkeeping (M = 3.5); F: Personnel Management (M = 3.4); and J: School-Community Relations (M = 3.36). The overall means of importance in descending order by duty area are reported in Table 3.

Table 3
Overall Means of Importance in Descending Order by Duty Area
Duty Area M SD
Duty Area I: Recordkeeping 3.50 0.76
Duty Area F: Personnel Management 3.40 0.61
Duty Area J: School-Community Relations 3.36 0.61
Duty Area B: Facilities and Equipment Management 3.35 0.65
Duty Area E: Organizational Improvement 3.33 0.53
Duty Area A: Business and Financial Management 3.30 0.81
Duty Area G: Professional and Staff Development 3.26 0.50
Duty Area D: Instructional Management 3.24 0.58
Duty Area K: Student Services 3.23 0.63
Duty Area H: Program Planning, Development, and Evaluation 3.15 0.78
Duty Area C: Integration of Academic & CTE Programs 2.95 0.88
Note Means for duty areas were rounded to the Likert scale 4 (Very Important) to 1 (Not Important).

Frequency. The duty areas that were rated as Daily, Weekly, Monthly, and Yearly are also ranked in descending order. The three duty areas that were performed most frequently were H: Program Planning, Development and Evaluation (M = 3.8); C: Integration of Academic and CTE Programs (M = 3.7); and K: Student Services (M=3.7). The overall means of frequency in descending order by duty area are illustrated in Table 4.

Table 4
Overall Means of Frequency in Descending Order by Duty Area
Duty Area M SD
Duty Area H: Program Planning, Development and Evaluation 3.80 0.50
Duty Area C: Integration of Academic and CTE Programs 3.70 0.81
Duty Area K: Student Services 3.70 0.77
Duty Area A: Business and Financial Management 3.60 0.56
Duty Area D: Instructional Management 3.60 0.52
Duty Area F: Personnel Management 3.60 0.64
Duty Area G: Professional and Staff Development 3.40 0.40
Duty Area E: Organizational Improvement 3.30 0.61
Duty Area I: Recordkeeping 3.30 0.09
Duty Area B: Facilities and Equipment Management 3.20 0.88
Duty Area J: School-Community Relations 3.20 0.72
Note Means for duty areas were rounded to the Likert scale 5 (Daily) to 2 (Yearly).

Differences. Duty Area I and J ranked in the top three for importance but ranked in the bottom three for frequency. Duty Areas H, C and K all ranked in the bottom three for importance but ranked in the top three for frequency. Thus there appears to be an inverse relationship between importance and frequency for some duties, which is discussed below.

Research Question 3: Job Categories

The third research question asked whether and how the importance and frequency of job tasks differs among job categories (Area Center Director/Principle, Local CTE Director, Community College Dean, Shared-Time CTE Director and Other).

Analysis of variance was conducted on the CPS administrators’ ratings of how important and how frequent a job task was within various duty areas. The duty area revealing a difference for importance among job categories was H: Program Planning, Development, and Evaluation. The duty areas revealing significant differences for importance and frequency by job type (Area Center Director/Principal, Local CTE Director, Community College Dean, Shared-Time CTE Director and Other) were B: Facilities and Equipment Management; D: Instructional Management; E: Organizational Improvement; F: Personnel Management; G: Professional and Staff Development; H: Program Planning, Development, and Evaluation; I: Recordkeeping; and K: Student Services. Therefore, eight out of the 11 duty areas were perceived to be different.

The duty areas revealing significant differences between job categories for the importance and frequency were Duty Areas B: Facilities and Equipment Management; D: Instructional Management; E: Organizational Management; F: Personnel Management; G: Professional and Staff Development; I: Recordkeeping; and K: Student Services. In regard to the pattern of differences among the groups, Community College Deans revealed the majority of the difference for the importance and frequency of job tasks within a number of the duty areas. Duty Area K: Student Services, with eight job tasks, revealed six job tasks with significant differences. The job tasks of K1: Manage student recruitment and admissions and K6: Implement classroom management systems, were the only two job task revealing Community College Deans with greater means than the other CPS administrators within the study.

Research Question 4: Years of Experience

The fourth research question set out to determine if a significant difference existed among CPS administrators' years of experience and their perceptions of the importance and frequency of a job task within a given duty area.

ANOVA procedures were used to determine whether differences existed among CPS administrators with different years of experience on importance and frequency of various job tasks based on their years of experience. The duty area revealing differences for importance and frequency was G: Professional and Staff Development. The duty areas revealing significant differences for frequency only were A: Business and Financial Management; F: Personnel Management; and H: Program Planning, Development, and Evaluation.

The duty areas revealing significant differences among CPS administrators’ years of experience and their perceptions for either importance, frequency, or both to the years of experience were Duty Areas A: Business and Financial Management; F: Personnel Management; G: Professional and Staff Development; and H: Program Planning, Development, and Evaluation.

Tukey post-hoc tests revealed the mean level of frequency for the job task of A2: Identify financial resources. CPS administrators with 15 years or more of experience (M=3.7) was significantly higher than CPS administrators with 0-3 years of experience (M=3.0), p=0.021. However, other post-hoc comparisons were nonsignificant, p=0.05. The post hoc Tukey HSD of Frequency of Duty Area A: Business and Financial Management by Years of Experience is illustrated in Table 5.

Table 5
Post Hoc Tukey HSD of Frequency of Duty Area
A: Business and Financial Management by Years of Experience
Dependent Variable (I) Years of Experience M (J) Years of Experience M Mean Difference (I-J) Std. Error Sig
A2. Identify financial resources for CPS 15 years or more 3.7 0-3 years 3.0 .6765 .2274 .032

The results revealed that the mean frequency of the job task F5: providing a mentoring system for new teachers and staff of CPS administrators with 6-9 years (M=40) was significantly different from the CPS administrators with 10-14 years of experience (M=2.7), p=0.022. However, the other years of experience did not reveal a significant difference among the other groups, p=0.05. The post-hoc Tukey HSD of Frequency of Duty Area F: Personnel Management by Years of Experience is illustrated in Table 6.

Table 6
Post Hoc Tukey HSD of Frequency of Duty Area
F: Personnel Management by Years of Experience
Dependent Variable (I) Years of Experience M (J) Years of Experience M Mean Difference (I-J) Std. Error Sig
F5. Provide mentoring system for new teachers and staff 6-9 Years 4.0 10-14 years 2.7 1.333 .41 .016

An ANOVA was computed to determine if a significant difference existed among the years of experience of CPS administrators to the frequency of job tasks within Duty Area H: Program Planning, Development, and Evaluation. Results of the Tukey post hoc revealed CPS administrators with 6-9 years of experience (M = 4.23) had a higher mean score than CPS administrators with 10-14 years of experience (M = 3.11) for the job task of H7: Participate in risk management activities, p=.012. Results also revealed a significant difference among CPS administrators with 15 or more years (M = 4.03) of experience than administrators with 10-14 years (M = 3.11) of experience for the same job task. Results of the Tukey post-hoc of Frequency of Duty Area H: Program Planning, Development and Evaluation by Years of Experience are shown in Table 7.

Table 7
Post Hoc Tukey HSD of Frequency of Duty Area
H: Program Planning, Development, and Evaluation by Years of Experience
Dependent Variable (I) Years of Experience M (J) Years of Experience Mean Mean Difference (I-J) Std. Error Sig
H7: Participate in risk management activities 6-9 years 4.23 10-14 years 3.11 1.1197 .3248 .008
  15 years or more 4.03 10-14 years 3.11 .9201 .2826 .015

For this research study, a 2 x 2 matrix was developed to illustrate the relationship between mean importance and mean frequency of duty areas as viewed by CPS administrators. As can be seen in Figure 1, none of the duty areas were deemed not important, making that side of the four-square essentially empty. Important and very important duty areas were roughly split on the timeline, but clustered around monthly and weekly. This illustrates that all of the duty areas were important to perform by current CPS administrators, but some were not done frequently.

2 x 2 Matrix of Mean Importance and Frequency of Duty Areas
Figure 1. 2 x 2 Matrix of Mean Importance and Frequency of Duty Areas

CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION

The main findings of this study were based upon information from 86 CPS administrators in Michigan who participated in the study. By collecting demographic information (i.e. job title and years of experiences) from survey respondents the study provides a detailed description of CTE administrators. According to the literature, a shortage of administrators in CTE is undeniable. In this study 37 CPS administrators (43%) indicated they had 15 or more years of experience, representing a large number of CPS administrators who could potentially retire in the next few years. With these impending retirements, Michigan could face a shortage of CPS administrators. These potential retirees add to the already diminishing pool of administrators. As these numbers historically illustrate, a principal’s longevity seems limited by a lack of awareness during the early stages in their teaching career. If teachers were recruited at an earlier age to become an administrator, perhaps this may expand the current seven-year tenure of a principalship as stated by Hammond et al.(2001). School systems also face the challenges of recruiting and finding qualified candidates for principalship (Olson, 2000). Few school systems have made it a priority to identify and groom potential leaders despite a wave of impending retirements.

Examining the importance and frequencies of job tasks identified and performed by CPS administrators was the second research question. The three most important duty areas indicated by CPS administrators were Recordkeeping, Personnel Management, and School-Community Relations. The three most frequently performed duty areas were Program Planning, Development, and Evaluation; Integration of Academic and CTE Programs, and Student Services. Similar findings by Combrink (1983) identified program planning, development; and evaluation, school/employer/community relations; business and financial management; facilities and equipment management; and instructional management as categories that both secondary and postsecondary administrators in Arizona vocational education perceived to be areas of greatest need for training.

ANOVAs were used to compare means among the job types of CPS administrators and the importance and frequency of a job tasks within the duty areas. As expected, there were significant differences between the mean value for Community College Deans and CPS administrators in the K-12 system. The findings for research question 3 are consistent with past research by Baker and Selman (1985), Bentley (1977), Finch and McGough (1991), Savio (1981), Valentine (1979), and Wenrich and Wenrich (1974). The following duty areas for CPS administrators could be added to the needed management skills and competencies for CPS Administrators from the literature review: Recordkeeping, Integration of Academic and CTE Programs, and Organizational Management.

The ANOVAs revealed significant differences within the following K-12 job types: Area Center CTE Directors/Principals and Shared-Time Directors. Area Center CTE Directors/Principals and Shared-Time Directors showed differences in the duty areas of Organizational Improvement and Personnel Management. This too presents a rationale as to why there were differences between these two groups of administrators. Shared-Time Directors will normally take on the job task responsibility that is delegated by the CTE Director. This makes sense because of the nature of the work between shared-time directors and an Area CTE director/principal.

A comparison of the job type category of “Other” to Area CTE Director/Principal shows a majority of the differences in the following duty areas: Facilities and Equipment; Instructional Management; Personnel Management; and Professional and Staff Development. This could be due to the number of different job titles within the “Other” category which contained a vice-president of academic affairs, assistant principal and regional CTE administrator, career preparation coordinator, intermediate school district (ISD) administrator, ISD superintendent, and regional/county ISD-CTE administrator. In this type of research, having a category of “Others” is a potential drawback because this category presents vastly different perspectives or viewpoints to particular job tasks within each duty area.

Very few duty areas were perceived differently according to the number of years of experience of a CPS administrator. The duty areas revealing differences were Business and Financial Management; Personnel Management; Professional Development; and Program Planning, Development and Evaluation. The duty areas revealed consistent differences between administrators with 10-14 years of experience to administrators with 6-9 years of experience. It is important to note that the literature did not reference the number of years of experience of administrators or the age of administrators but discussed the age of retirement. Although it can be inferred that the years of experience is related to career stages, this study is inconclusive on the issue of how different categories of experience may influence administrators’ views of job tasks.

Figure 1 illustrates that none of the duty areas were deemed not important, making that side of the four-square essentially empty. Important and very important duty areas were roughly split on the timeline, but clustered around monthly and weekly. This illustrates that all of the duty areas were important to perform by current CPS administrators, but some were not done. The quadrant I and quadrant II show the duties areas as begin important to CPS administrators. Quadrant II reveals duty area A, C, D, F, H and K as being both important and done frequently. Quadrant II reveals duties areas B, E, G, I and J as being important but not performed frequently.

In summary, some of the findings corroborate earlier studies and other results provide an updated framework for leadership in CTE. The study also served to validate the DACUM research of Woloszyk and Manley (2001) by surveying 86 current CPS administrators. These insights could be used renovate the curriculum for leadership development programs.

Implications for Leadership Development Programs

There are several implications for leadership development involving the importance and frequency of job tasks performed by CPS administrators within the state of Michigan. The reexamination of the duty areas Recordkeeping, Organizational Improvement, and Facilities and Equipment Management should be undertaken, because they did not rank as important; it begs the question as to why these particular duty areas would rank so low with regards to frequency. Intuitively duty areas such as Recordkeeping contain one job task, which could explain its frequency ranking, but is still rated important possibly because of today’s accountability requirements for schools.

This study revealed a number of differences between community college deans and K-12 CPS administrators. This is understandable as community college deans have access to other departments in their institutions to handle job tasks such as managing student recruitment and admissions, student placement, and crisis management and security programs. The possible division of the community college deans and K-12 CPS administrators can be considered for the improvement of a leadership development program. By potentially providing two distinct leadership development tracks, the needs of the two groups could be met.

In-service training for leadership development programs could be designed to help new CPS administrators make the transition from the classroom to administration with fewer wrinkles. Recommendations should be made to encourage state agencies and professional organizations to provide leadership development activities such as recordkeeping, personnel management, and school-community relations as these duty areas ranked the three most important in this study. Additionally, organizations should provide additional training on Program Planning, Development and Evaluation; Integration of Academic and CTE Programs; and Student Services as these duty areas ranked as being performed the three most frequently by current CPS administrators.

Implications for Further Research

Since this study used a DACUM study conducted in 2001-2002 for the development of a leadership program, the perceptions of the study were limited to the state of Michigan. Therefore, it is recommended that this study be replicated in other states for a better understanding of the perceptions and roles of a CPS or CTE administrator in a broader context. This could help to determine the similarities and difference between states. Michigan’s education and certification for teachers and administrators has some differences from other states. Therefore, administrators might have different backgrounds or different job descriptions than Michigan CPS administrators. By examining the different backgrounds, a common denominator could be presented and potentially added to an LDP program.

Results of this study can be used to improve or add to existing course structures of leadership development programs. With a focus on duty areas that ranked important by CPS administrators, curriculum can be modified to be in the best interest of the participants.

Conducting a study in which multiple methods are used would allow the opportunity to clarify issues that may be difficult to grasp with a self-report survey. The chosen research method in this study, which was a survey that generated quantitative data, could be improved with a triangulation approach to data gathering. The introduction of a qualitative method, with the opportunity to interview CPS administrators and to conduct focus groups, could add to the literature base. Figure 1’s matrix makes clear there are disconnects between and importance and frequency of some job areas, but it is unclear how CPS administrators feel about a particular duty area. A qualitative study may help to fill in some of these unanswered questions.

This study could be replicated with individuals in the position of career-technical education administrators who do not have CTE backgrounds to determine their professional development needs and challenges. The rationale behind this statement stems from the shortage of overall administrators and more importantly the shortage of CTE administrators. It is recommended that higher education institutions evaluate the preparation of non-career-technical individuals to fill the job positions that will arise in the future. It is speculated that administrators without CTE or vocational education backgrounds may have different needs and hold different viewpoints regarding their administrative duties.

New administrators will need to be competent in various job tasks to meet the challenges for future CTEs. Because of the challenges facing CPS administrators, and the diminishing pool of administrators for secondary and postsecondary vocational education institutions, there is a need to examine the priorities in preparing CPS leaders. This research may help inform that process.


Julia VanderMolen is the Director of Online Instruction at Davenport University. She can be reached at Julia.vandermolen@davenport.edu.
Richard Zinser is an Associate Professor, CTE at Western Michigan University. He can be reached at richard.zinser@wmich.edu.

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