Navigating the Streams and Currents of an Emerging Institutional Form: The Causes and Effects of a Community College S.T.E.M. Coalition
AuthorPacker, Benjamin A.
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.
AbstractIncreasingly, colleges and universities are partnering with private, non-profit, and government organizations in order to generate revenue, develop academic programs, transfer research to market, and gain legitimacy (Anderson, 2001; Etzkowitz & Lvdesdorff, 1997; Slaughter & Leslie, 1997; Slaughter & Rhoades, 2004). While research exploring this phenomenon in universities has produced several important works, fewer studies have examined partnerships centered on the community college. Instead, the bulk of articles written about community college partnerships merely serve as how-to guides for college leaders, providing the benefits of and lessons learned from specific partnerships between colleges and industry (Erwin, 2005; Sundberg, 2002). The purpose of this case study is to provide an in-depth, critical analysis of a complex partnership involving many organizations in a unique geographic setting. The study focuses on the community college at the center of a regional STEM education coalition, exploring why the college entered into the partnership and how it was affected. Findings demonstrate that several factors at the state and national level, or "streams," combined to form a powerful "current" of influence uniquely tailored to the community in which the college was located. Further, the loose and informal structure of the coalition, coupled with a myopic and hegemonic institutional narrative, allowed individuals outside the college to guide and direct the activities of the institution with relatively little dissent. Because of the lack of orchestrated inter-organizational coordination and agreement, the objective of the coalition, to develop a pipeline of STEM education programs from high school through the university, suffered from challenges and breakdowns at every level. The study concludes by discussing implications for college leaders regarding building relationships with external organizations, effectively serving the local citizenry, and responding to constituents and incentives of various kinds.
Degree ProgramGraduate College