Date of this Version
A growing number of community colleges are offering bachelor degrees in addition to maintaining their traditional functions. This case study examined one community college that began offering bachelor degrees in 1999. The purpose for conducting the study was to provide a historical “portrait" of Great Basin College, from 1997-98 through 2009-2010, as it developed five baccalaureate programs. Specifically, I explored, through archived data and interviews with 20 administrators and faculty, how offering four-year programs impacted the students, faculty, curriculum, governance, and culture of the community college.
Several conclusions were drawn from the data. The interviewees were adamant Great Basin College is continuing to live up to its community college mission by offering the baccalaureate degrees. They did not perceive the mission had changed; it had been extended. Offering baccalaureate degrees have impacted Great Basin College in several ways. The chief impacts included the recruiting and hiring of faculty with doctorate degrees resulting in a change of culture and an increase in expenses, transforming of the general education, increasing the library holdings, developing of procedures and policies resulting in more standardization of processes and curriculum, creating a workload policy, increasing student services and transforming the perception of the college by the community by creating legitimacy and a sense of place. The interviewees perceived these changes as strengthening all degrees and programs.
Two major themes emerged: inevitability of change and connected with community. The respondents viewed change as inherent in their past, their present and their future- change is inevitable. They emphasized the link between change and leadership and technology. The interviewees stressed their commitment to the community and their responsiveness to its needs developing a cohesive relationship between the college and the community. The study concluded that although adding baccalaureate degrees was an important event, the continual change in the community’s needs, the ever changing developments in technology, and the change of leadership had a greater impact on the evolution of this community college.
Adviser: Barbara Y. LaCost