Navigating the waters: A case study on public higher education system transformation
This case study focuses on the strategic decisions of two systems of public higher education in Maine, and how the structure of the two systems, their disparate missions, and their leadership allowed the development of competing agendas that ultimately resulted in one system's transformation into a community college system. The case spans the period from 1967, with the creation of Maine's first consolidated system of higher education, to the spring of 2003, with particular attention paid to the period of the early 1990s to the spring of 2003. A literature review of state systems was conducted to inform the study. The “revised garbage can model”, developed by John Kingdon, as well as political transformation literature written by Murry Edelman and others form the conceptual framework for the research. The study explores the development of an agenda for educational public policy and its advancement outside of the traditional legislative arena. What are the general implications of this independent policy development? What can be concluded from the fact that competition arose in this case, and what does this say about the effectiveness of centralized state control of higher educational systems in general? In order to throw light on the problems presented, a qualitative case study was developed using the transformation of the Maine Technical College System (MTCS) into a community college system. The MTCS was able to position itself in order to acquire the role of the community college in Maine through the effective use of internal consensus building and strategic planning, but it was through a meticulous political process that the leadership of the MTCS was able to outline the problems, solutions and benefits of MTCS becoming a community college system to the Maine public. Although the strategy included program duplication and had adversaries, the transformation was executed in such a way as to be devoid of all major political controversy. The case also revealed how effective and stable campus leadership can act as a shock absorber to a system structure under economic and political attack. ^
Education, Community College|Political Science, Public Administration|Education, Higher
John Glen LaBrie,
"Navigating the waters: A case study on public higher education system transformation"
(January 1, 2004).
Dissertations available from ProQuest.