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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Curious Case of Implementation: Enactment of the California Community College Student Equity Initiative
by Griffith, Ashley, Ed.D., California State University, Long Beach, 2017, 167; 10621767
Abstract (Summary)

Each California Community College (CCC) is required to develop and implement a Student Equity Plan that details budget for activities aimed at closing the achievement gap for disproportionately impacted student populations. This is an ambitious, new effort, one with substantial funding behind it, that challenges the capacity and practices of CCCs. Many institutions have identified Student Equity Coordinators (SECs) to provide oversight of the initiative and to guide transformational change efforts around equity.

This qualitative interview study explored the implementation of the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office’s (CCCCO) Student Equity Initiative (SEI) through the stories of the SECs tasked with overseeing the program on their campuses. The study provides insight into what SECs perceived as facilitators and obstacles to implementing the initiative. Fourteen participants, who had either served or were currently serve as SECs at their institution, were interviewed for this study. Bolman and Deal’s Four-Framed Model for understanding organizational function provided the theoretical framework to analyze the data of this study.

Findings revealed that SECs viewed their institutional systems as both facilitators and inhibitors to implementation of the SEI. Many SECs reported a lack of clear understanding of the SEI by individuals and at the institutional level, which made it difficult to rally support for the initiative; the SECs did identify “choir” members--those constituents who participated in and/or supported most initiatives--as important allies in implementing the SEI, although also noted resistance from stakeholders who questioned equity efforts. Findings also noted the importance of research and evaluation as a facilitator implementation. SECs also reported a commitment to serving underrepresented students, and a sense of responsibility to ensure that the SEI was carried out effectively and efficiently, across divisions and departments, as facilitators. Having the right SEC in place not only promoted equity efforts at CCCs but displayed an institution’s commitment to equity work.

Recommendations for policy include that each CCC should be required to use a percentage of funding to conduct the necessary research and evaluation needed to identify and rectify achievement gaps. CCC districts should also allow flexibility in their budgeting process to streamline Student Equity spending. Finally, findings suggest educational stakeholders should be required to attend professional development on equity to support a common understanding of the SEI and improve equity-mindedness.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Haviland, Don
Commitee: Neal, Veronica, Vega, William
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 79/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership
Keywords: California community college, Categorial grant, Initiative leadership, Policy, Student equity
Publication Number: 10621767
ISBN: 978-0-355-28278-8
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