Faculty governance at the entrepreneurial community college

Barbara G Risser, University of Pennsylvania


The purpose of this study is to explore the faculty-administrative consultative relationship at entrepreneurial community colleges and to examine the role of faculty governance in both ensuring quality and allowing the college to move nimbly to address market needs. In the current competitive environment, community college presidents, academic administrators and faculty would benefit from an exploration of faculty-administrative consultation regarding entrepreneurial academic activity. Key questions that guide this study include: How do community colleges balance the demands of the market with the deliberative nature of faculty governance? What elements are in place at community colleges that support or constrain an environment that can be characterized as both entrepreneurial and collegial? What are the conditions at community colleges that support or constrain faculty-administrative relationships and the governance of academic entrepreneurial activities? Qualitative case studies at three community colleges in the same state system highlight the complex influences of faculty governance and the faculty-administrative relationship in a variety of entrepreneurial contexts. While community colleges constitute a different sector of higher education than research universities, the researcher discovered that the five elements of collegial entrepreneurialism that emerged from Burton R. Clark's (2000) study of European universities in the mid-1990s were observed in somewhat different forms at the three community colleges in this study. No administrators expressed frustration with lengthy faculty debate that delayed a quick response to the market. However, even though all of these faculties have streamlined their curriculum review processes and are willing to accelerate faculty review when a quick response is required, there was no evidence that faculty at these colleges have in any way abdicated governance responsibilities to satisfy the market. Both faculty and administrators at these three colleges reported a cooperative faculty-administrative relationship in support of new initiatives, and a willingness to work out differences together when they arise.

Subject Area

Community colleges|School administration

Recommended Citation

Risser, Barbara G, "Faculty governance at the entrepreneurial community college" (2007). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3255864.