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Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Culminating Project Title

Interim Administration in Higher Education

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Higher Education Administration: Ed.D.


Educational Administration and Higher Education


School of Education

First Advisor

Rachel Friedensen

Second Advisor

Steven McCullar

Third Advisor

Jodi Kuznia

Fourth Advisor

Kurt Helgeson

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Higher Education, Interim, Leadership


Higher education, like any other field, goes through constant change. It is not uncommon to see constant changes in administration in institutions of higher education. In many of these cases, an interim administration is hired to provide transition, stability, and time to find the best candidate to serve in a permanent capacity. Research has indicated that leadership turnover in higher education is continual and is most often seen at the dean level. During these times, well-prepared leaders assist in the smooth transition for the organization and help the interim candidate become a stronger leader.

In the Minnesota State system, there are currently few prescribed programs for incoming interim deans in higher education. In this research, nine participants who fulfilled or were already in the role of interim dean were interviewed. The goal of the study was to determine (research) the preparedness of the selected individuals for the interim dean role before or during their term as interim dean.

The findings of this research illustrate the need for formal training or career pathing prior to an individual taking on the role of interim dean. Leadership opportunities and support must exist for individuals interested in pursuing a leadership role as a dean within the Minnesota State system. This research discusses the common themes of formal mentorship programs, training in the day-to-day operations of university processes and procedures, leadership skills, and people management.


I would like to thank my family who without their unwavering support and faith in me I would not have completed this goal. To Julie, my wife and soulmate, thank you for keeping the family going when I could not be there to help and telling me, “You got this!” My four wonderful children: Isaac, Erika, Danielle and Carley, through their patience and understanding they provided me the strength to keep going when it didn’t seem possible. To my siblings: Linda, Patty, Charlene and Gary, who have always believed in me and provided encouragement along the way. In memory of my parents, Gilbert and Mary Jane Hentges, who provided the inspiration from their strong belief in the importance of college education. They were always on my mind during my educational journey and are the backbone of whom I am today. Lastly, I would like to thank my advisor and my committee members: Dr. Rachel Friedensen, Dr. Kurt Helgeson, Dr. Jodi Kuznia and Dr. Steven McCullar. I could have not finished without your encouragement and support.



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