Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


The Effect of Recession on Community College Innovation: A Historical Analysis 2006-2011 Public Deposited

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  • Literature on U.S. higher education includes a historical and consistent debate over adequate funding in relation to the ever-increasing challenges which require U.S. colleges to embrace change as a constant. As change continues to challenge all aspects of our society scholars and organizational leaders recognize innovation as imperative in addressing the issues, opportunities, and demands of our global marketplace. U.S. community colleges represent an innovative concept originally introduced in 1901 for a variety of reasons, but, based on the literature review, community colleges experienced explosive growth to answer social and economic issues in the aftermath of WWII. Conclusions can be made that U.S. community colleges were born of innovation and will continue to innovate as demands are seldom met with adequate funding. U.S. community colleges embrace innovation to ensure their longevity, vitality, and possibly even their existence. This research addressed U.S. community college innovative practices over a six year period between 2006 and 2011. The timeline was divided between pre, post, and during the U.S. Great Recession which captured a unique and historically significant period of U.S. history. As one of the oldest and most significant organizations in the community college world the League for Innovation in the Community College was selected as the research site. Data collected from the League representing 304 U.S. community colleges provided a representative sample of U.S. community colleges. The purpose of this study was to explore the ways in which U.S. community colleges innovate, where they innovate, the results of those innovations, and to explore the effects the U.S. Great Recession may or may not have had on those organizational responses during this period. This analysis was designed to answer two primary questions: • What effect did the U.S. Great Recession have on community college innovation? • To what extent were the innovations effective in responding to the factors that inspired them? Data were collected from a standardized League submission form and descriptions submitted by U.S. community colleges. Data were evaluated, analyzed, and interpreted to record historical significance and answer the research questions. This research sought first to perform quantitative analysis on the ordinal data, then to verify the ordinal data through qualitative analysis of submitted project descriptions. The study findings revealed that the U.S. Great Recession had minimal impact on U.S. community college innovation. Despite the fiscal challenges throughout the researched timeline U.S. community colleges stayed focused on innovative practices enhancing learning and teaching which consistently made up over 50% of the innovations reported. This was followed by innovative practices centered on student services. In these innovations the top two criteria consistently met were quality followed by creativity. The innovation type classified as resource development decreased across the U.S. Great Recession. In the year preceding the recession research development made up 25% of the community college innovations reported. Throughout the recession resource development consistently made up less than 5% of the community college innovations submitted. In fact, the year following the recession there were no resource development innovations submitted. Therefore, U.S. community colleges and their stakeholders faced the challenging times of the U.S. Great Recession with an unwavering commitment to teaching, learning, and student focused quality. This research also supports Terry O’Banion’s hypothesis that community colleges were born of innovation and will continue to innovate as part of their very nature. U.S. community colleges and their stakeholders should continue to focus on what is important to them. Each community college is unique in that they each have specific funding streams and stakeholder expectations. Further research could explore the rationale which contributed to no resource development being reported in the year following the Great Recession. In addition, additional research could discover the discrepancy between the answers to structured questions and the narrative supplied to explain the results.
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  • Pending Publication
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  • 2017-12-06 to 2018-07-06



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