When Management Defines Leadership: High Demand x High Support in a Rural Community College

  • Paula K. Clarke
  • W. Ted Hamilton


Drawing upon a diversity of data from efforts across almost four decades – the last two in the same rural community college – devoted to developing, implementing and studying the impact of a High Demand x High Support (HDxHS) teaching pedagogy, this paper addresses four topics: First, we briefly address the values and perspectives informing the HDxHS effort. Second, we sketch the HDxHS pedagogy and describe case exemplars, situating these in the context of a rural community college (CC). Third, we describe different leadership responses to HDxHS in terms of the use of strategic ignorance strategies (SIS), suggesting that these likely function more as a barrier than a conduit for understanding the challenges facing rural communities and CCs. Fourth, acknowledging that CCs are currently at a crossroads facing an uncertain future as legitimate public post-secondary institutions, we outline elements of a re-scripted more democratic CC leadership model. Part overview and part summary, the conclusion addresses the strengths and weaknesses of the HDxHS approach and the various bodies of knowledge to which it might contribute.
Critical Analysis