Community School Administrators’ Attitudes and Beliefs about Criminal Background Reviews During Enrollment Processes

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership (EdD)

Committee Chair

Chenelle Jones

Committee Member

Yuerong Sweetland

Committee Member

Blake Renner


Higher education provides an opportunity for career development, enhanced societal contributions, and individual awareness of self and others. Individuals with criminal records represent a significant demographic struggling to access higher education due to barriers often created to address safety concerns (Bressler & Von Bergen, 2018). Although many institutions have initiatives to promote higher education access and success, the overreliance on criminal background data creates barriers and limitations to social engagement, including college enrollment. This doctoral research explores college administrators' attitudes and beliefs about risk management, explicitly examining attitudes about the significance of accessing criminal history disclosures in the enrollment process. The qualitative, case study research explores college administrators’ views about criminal background checks as a risk mitigation practice. Participants of this research come from multiple Mid-Western community colleges; thus, the study does not aim to generalize findings beyond the individuals within the specific geographic setting. However, the insights gathered can help inform development toward removing unintended consequences while maintaining safety standards at other higher education institutions.