AuthorTrotter, Francine Bly.
Committee ChairRhoades, Gary
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractDuring the last decade the term "economic development" has been widely used in community college policy statements and literature, but the meaning of the term has lacked clarity and consistency in interpretation. Additionally, there is little empirical information regarding the design of community college economic development programs. The purpose of this study was twofold. First, to determine community college faculty and administrator perceptions of the term "economic development". Second, to analyze the actors, processes, organizational structures, role of faculty and external forces affecting economic development programs at community colleges. A political/pluralistic framework and qualitative research methods were selected to capture the dynamics of a complex, multi-college community college district. The study found that college constituents hold varying interpretations of the term "economic development". Full-time faculty define economic developments in terms of employable skills and job training for students. Administrators, almost without exception, perceive economic development as serving the needs of business, primarily large, corporate businesses. The organizational structure for economic development programs includes a centralized district economic development department and some college-level business and industry institutes. These structures are primarily "stand alone" entities, largely administratively run, operating parallel to but separate from the traditional, main educational functions of the college. The purpose of the district economic development department is to help recruit large, corporate businesses and to hire and train a work force for relocating or expanding companies. The economic development role of the community colleges is primarily industrial training. Few full-time faculty participate in the development and implementation of economic development courses or programs which are primarily designed and taught by independent contractors, many times employees of the company receiving the training. The study raises the question of whether community college economic development programs are driven by state or local interests because of the emphasis on serving primarily large, corporate companies in lieu of small to middle size local companies. Also, in light of diminishing state and local resources and additional demands placed on community colleges, policymakers must reevaluate their role in economic development and existing methods of funding such programs.
Degree ProgramEducational Foundations and Administration