Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Community Colleges Creating Academic Programming for Rural Areas Public Deposited

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  • Community colleges serve various populations as part of their missions. Many community colleges serve the people who live in rural communities and are challenged with fewer financial resources. The term rural is not easily defined, and many variables need to be considered when creating academic programming for rural populations. There is no standard definition for it. The purpose of this dissertation was to determine how rural community colleges create successful programming that serves the needs of the local community. The study investigated the following questions: (a) What motivates community colleges to create academic programming for rural communities? (b) What is the planning process that the community colleges are using when determining programming for rural communities? (c) Who are the current stakeholders involved in the planning process? There are 17 community colleges in Oregon. They represent a range of sizes from small to large, in different location, and in the constituents they serve. Cases for this study were chosen using the Carnegie Classification System, both the Basic Classification and the Size and Setting Classifications were used to select the two colleges for the study. Study participants were identified by either the Chief Academic Officer or the Vice President of Instruction/Student Services Provost from each of the community colleges. The 10 people interviewed were identified as having knowledge or expertise around the college's efforts of creating programming in rural areas. They held positions such as chief academic officer, vice president of instruction/student services provost, division dean, director, and department chair within the college. The research design for this study involved a comparative case study. Faculty and administrators from two community colleges in Oregon were interviewed to determine motivation to create rural programming, to identify methods and processes used for rural programming, and to ascertain who the stakeholders are that participate in this decision-making. An open-ended question format was used. The responses were organized, explored, and coded. Then categories were built and data was interpreted. Lastly, the findings were summarized. Several strategies were used to ensure trustworthiness of the data collection and analysis. Data source triangulation involved comparison of the reports from multiple interviewers, as well as the cross-case analysis. Using investigator triangulation and peer review, other researchers and colleagues reviewed the interviews and themes. Method triangulation involved the use of information from interviews and from archival records, such as advisory board lists, internal surveys, mission statements, and websites. Finally, with member checking, interviewees reviewed and approved the transcripts and themes. The study found that community colleges are motivated to create academic programming in rural areas when needs are voiced by the community. In addition, community colleges tend to favor programming that supports access elements of the college's missions and values statement. Finally, the ability to sustain the programming in the rural areas was an additional factor that motivates community colleges to create programming in rural areas. Community college personnel considered many variables in designing programming for rural communities. Among them were reviewing their mission statements and strategic plans. They analyzed data derived from enrollment reports, demographics, and economic reports. Colleges also reviewed data collected on factors such as enrollment and retention rates, employment of students, and graduation rates. The process for creating programming for on campus and for rural areas was the same. However community colleges recognized the different needs of each of the populations. The college often asked for feedback from constituents to determine whether needs were being met in the community. They engaged with their constituents through surveys and focus groups. Reviewing funding was also important when proceeding with rural programming. The funding for the rural programming might be one or a combination of, resource allocation, grants, special fees, general funds or the use of surplus college funds. Partnerships were also an vital component of the resources used to finance rural programming. The stakeholders involved in the planning process for rural programming included the constituents residing in the community college districts. In addition the outreach staff and the administrative staff that were employed at the community college were also involved in the process. Given the lack of research on community college programming in rural areas, the present study contributes to the scholarship on this topic. Future researchers can build upon the present work to determine if the findings hold within other states and other state systems. In addition, regional or national surveys could be undertaken to explore the factors and variables identified in these case studies. Based on the results of the present research, a series of steps have been identified that can be utilized by a community college that is in the process of creating programming for rural areas. They are (a) apply community college documents, (b) utilize data, (c) assemble and review feedback, and (d) identify resources. These steps follow the apparently successful practices that emerged from the research. In addition, the present research has indicated various approaches for institutions that are struggling to find ways to reach out to rural communities in educational need. Thus, the research has the potential to create positive effects on education policy nationwide
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Julie Kurtz( on 2016-01-14T21:12:58Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 GarciaChitwoodJeanL2015 (1).pdf: 811843 bytes, checksum: 166b1e6b8e479858258d4ebd44404933 (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Rejected by Julie Kurtz(, reason: Rejecting because many of the revisions noted on the pretext pages were not made. Things that need revised are - 1) Abstract page - heading should be changed from THESIS to DISSERTATION. Also add Darlene's middle initial "F." with her name so it reads - Darlene F. Russ-Eft 2) Title page - commencement date remove the day "15" so it reads - Commencement June 2016 3) Approval page - first line is on the bottom of the title page and should be moved to the top of the approval page. Also on the approval page, statement on the bottom change the word "thesis" to dissertation in two locations. 4) Table of Contents - the last entry is Appendix........1 I don't see an appendix and it would be the last page number and not page 1. Everything else looks good. Once revised log back into ScholarsArchive and go to the upload page. Replace the attached file with the revised file and resubmit. Thanks, Julie on 2016-01-12T16:42:38Z (GMT)
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  • description.provenance : Rejected by Patricia Black(, reason: Ignore this message. I'm removing the extra file from your submission. on 2016-01-14T20:08:36Z (GMT)
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  • 2017-08-07 to 2018-02-13



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