Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Provincial coordination and inter-institutional collaboration in British Columbia's college, university college, and institute system Public Deposited

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  • The purpose of this study was to better understand the historical development of the British Columbia (B.C.) community college, university college, and institute system with the focus on the changing nature of voluntary inter-institutional collaboration in relation to provincial coordination. The study also examined the related themes of centralization and decentralization within B.C.'s system and the development of a provincial system of autonomous institutions. The methodology used was qualitative, and more specifically, interpretive in nature and based on the historical method and the underlying assumptions of hermeneutics. The researcher began by analyzing pertinent primary and secondary sources of literature in relation to the study's purpose. The findings from the literature analysis formed the basis for interview questions that were asked of 10 key informants to fill gaps in understanding and confirm findings. The study found that the B.C. system began as a decentralized group of autonomous, community-oriented institutions but became more centrally coordinated by government in the late 1970s and early 1980s, largely because of increased costs and a worsening economy. The 1990s witnessed a high level of centralized decision making with stakeholder involvement, which has been replaced by a move towards decentralization and greater institutional autonomy in the early 2000s based on the market ideology of the new government. Throughout the decades, the B.C. system has had a history of voluntary collaboration but that collaboration has been gradually blended over time with provincial coordination as government built a system of autonomous institutions. The main conclusions of the study are that an appropriate balance may be achievable between centralization and decentralization in order to maintain a coherent system of accountable, autonomous institutions but would need systematic efforts by government and institutions and a policy framework for system governance. Such a balance may be achieved by learning from the lessons of B.C.'s rich history and from the experiences of other jurisdictions. To achieve system goals, the Ministry and institutions could build on the history of voluntary collaborative efforts, which seem particularly important among educators at the program level. The Ministry might reward such collaboration and hold institutions accountable for it.
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