Date of Award

12-2006

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Educational Leadership

Advisor

Marion, Russell A.

Abstract

ABSTRACT


This dissertation seeks to understand the perceptions of key constituencies (legis¬lators, private and public college and university presidents, and technical college presidents) about technical colleges in South Carolina. It explores the impact of technical colleges in the state and the difficulties that technical colleges face in achieving that impact and adapting to future needs.
Survey instruments were distributed to these key constituencies. Data were reduced via factor analysis, and MANOVA procedures were used to analyze differences among constituencies on the factor scores. Open-ended questions and interviews with select participants illuminated, expanded, and validated the quantitative findings.
There were several key findings. The factor analysis identified five categories of perceptions, the most important of which was quality of students and faculty. This factor covers the heart of educational quality--academic reputation, faculty performance, articulation and cooperation with other colleges and universities.
The MANOVA analysis revealed that private and public presidents who responded to the survey hold a much less favorable view of the quality of students and faculty than do the technical college presidents. Further, most of the weaknesses cited in the open-ended questions refer to poor qual¬ity of faculty, too many part-time faculty, and the perceived lack of ability to provide transfer education. All three groups cite poor articulation with the four-year universities. A majority of the public and private college and university presidents agree that the technical colleges comply with the same accreditation requirements, and yet less than half of those presidents agree that the technical colleges have well-qualified faculty.
Legislators and other presidents have mixed opinions as to the possible change of name of the South Carolina technical colleges to 'community colleges.' Many of those opposed to the change fear the change would reduce the emphasis on technical education, an attribute cited by all three groups.

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