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Implementation of state developmental education policy: A multiple case study of community college faculty perceptions of involvement

Shirley Davenport, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Numerous studies have indicated that developmental education as it is currently offered in many colleges and universities produces dismal results, with student success rates averaging as low as 25%. To address this issue, legislators in some states have begun to intervene, adopting policies that vary from suggestions for improvements to mandated pedagogical approaches. However, given the higher education organizational environment, the manner in which any change is implemented can be key to its success. The purpose of this comparative multiple case study was to describe and interpret the perceptions of developmental education faculty regarding their level of involvement in developmental education legislation implementation processes in their respective states in order to determine how this level of involvement may affect faculty willingness to implement instructional change. The data examined for this study was gathered from participant interviews at a Connecticut and a Missouri community college and archival documents. Tummers’ (2010) policy alienation framework provided the framework for this study that found that faculty demonstrated change resistance when they were not included in discussions during the policy development stage and were more likely to fully engage in instructional change initiatives at the institutional level if they experienced a climate of trust and support at their institution. Adjunct faculty who were not allowed to give input experienced the same resistance to change that full-time faculty experienced if they were not included at the strategic level. Faculty were more likely to embrace legislated change initiatives if they believed that the changes would positively affect developmental education outcomes in their respective states and their students. Faculty were more likely to resist change initiatives if they believed that those initiatives would be detrimental to their students. These findings have significant implications for higher education policy-makers, policy implementers, and other stakeholders who wish to effect transformative higher education change through successful policy implementation.

Subject Area

Community college education|Higher Education Administration|Education Policy

Recommended Citation

Davenport, Shirley, "Implementation of state developmental education policy: A multiple case study of community college faculty perceptions of involvement" (2016). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI10142891.