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The confluence of theory, practice, and geography: leadership of the small, rural college within the diverse environment of northern British Columbia

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(Thesis) Ed.D.
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This study examines college leadership in Northern British Columbia and uncovers a unique leadership requirement and skill set called resourcefulness. This research is substantiated by the narratives of educational leaders from the College of New Caledonia, Northern Lights College, and Northwest Community College as they serve their communities and interact with global perspectives and knowledge systems. Like other Canadian rural communities, the small, resource-based communities within Northern British Columbia are experiencing rapid change. The vastness of the geography and the diversity of the communities and of the Aboriginal peoples in the region pose unique challenges and extensive opportunity for entrepreneurial and cosmopolitan approaches to delivering education and training. Naturally, the community looks towards the college for leadership; therefore in small communities, the college leader has a high public profile and extensive political engagement. The college leader requires a comprehensive understanding of leadership theories and practices, particularly servant and transformational leadership, and must use authentic approaches to reach understanding, particularly to appreciate and respond to the needs of diverse Aboriginal cultures. The moral implication of unique situations must take precedence over the simply effective. In this regard, the ways that the leaders interpret and understand their surroundings and correspondingly navigate within large systems are of critical importance in terms of acquiring the necessary resources for success. The research culminates in recommendations for effective succession planning at the colleges and unique leadership development approaches that address the realities of Northern British Columbia.
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