An analysis of the perceptions of strategic planners and system administrators in the Alabama community college system regarding community college goals

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University of Alabama Libraries

Throughout the last century and into this one, community colleges have become comprehensive institutions with multiple missions. However, because of resource scarcity, it is not possible to give equal priority to every functional goal that makes up the comprehensive mission. The purpose of this study, then, was to understand the goal priorities of strategic planners and system administrators in the Alabama Community College System and the extent to which these different stakeholders agree on those priorities for the community college. In this quantitative, descriptive study, the researcher sought to understand how stakeholders perceived the importance of different goals of the community college and how the same stakeholders would prefer those goals be prioritized. The researcher also examined how these goal priorities might differ by participant role, namely whether the participant was an ACCS Office employee, a college administrator, a faculty member, or a college staff member. In addition, differences in goals priorities with regard to the participant’s location (in a college or in the ACCS office) and the participant’s college size were analyzed. Data were collected using the Community College Goals Inventory (CCGI) developed by ETS. The CCGI asks respondents to identify the extent to which specific goals are being pursued at their institutions and the extent to which specific goals should be pursued at their institutions. Finally, the researcher attempted to understand if the CCGI has remained a valid and reliable instrument for measuring the goal priorities of modern community colleges. An analysis of the results of the study led the researcher to make four major conclusions. First, there is strong agreement concerning the priorities of community college goals among the groups that were surveyed. Second, although it is often listed as one of the major functions of community colleges, the goal of Community Services does not appear to rise to a level of high priority in the Alabama Community College System. Third, creating a sense of community in which there are open lines of communication and trust between administrators, faculty, staff, and students, the goal of College Community, appears to be a major concern for study respondents. Finally, the Community College Goals Inventory appears to be a reliable instrument based on internal consistency, but it does not take into account all the goals of the modern community college.

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Community college education, Higher education administration