Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Adult and Lifelong Learning (EdD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Kevin M. Roessger

Committee Member

Kit Kacirek

Second Committee Member

G. David Gearhart


Big Five, emotional intelligence, higher education, LIWC, president, psychometrics


Higher education (HIED) presidents face a wide variety of competing demands and pressures. High emotional intelligence (EI) has been found to be effective in good leadership, but few studies exist which examine HIED presidents’ EI. This quantitative growth model study attempted to expand the understanding of EI and its source of change among HIED presidents. Several conceptualizations link together in this study to better understand HIED presidents’ EI. First, higher EI has been linked to strong leadership and strong communication. Studies show EI can change over time and EI is associated with certain demographic factors. Further, language, particularly written language, has been found to reveal characteristics of a persons’ personality. Using Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC), a person’s personality through their writing can be effectively identified. LIWC has also identified writers’ Big Five personality traits more frequently than their EI. Finally, because most EI assessments are widely criticized, this study used a categorical-dynamic index derived from the Big Five as an EI proxy. This study examined the public writings of HIED presidents created every six months over 2.5-years to better understand EI, its change, and its moderators in HIED presidents. The study found that while EI was significantly different among HIED presidents, it did not significantly change over the 2.5 years. Further, while six moderators were examined, only institutional size was significant. Potential reasons for the lack of significance among these findings are that without targeted EI training, 2.5 years is not enough time to find a significant change in EI. In addition, the sample sizes within each moderator were too small to find significance. The hope is that this study will inspire other researchers to look further into HIED presidents’ EI, presidents who feel like they can improve will seek EI training, and institutions of HIED will consider candidates’ EI levels when selecting their next executive leader.