Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Case Study of Strategic Governance in the Implementation of Guided Pathways at Scale at California Community Colleges
by Ashby, Hayley, Ed.D., Brandman University, 2018, 255; 10936242
Abstract (Summary)

Purpose: Community colleges across the United States are implementing systemic reforms in response to calls for increased student success. Guided pathways is a framework for holistic redesign that coordinates institutional improvements in multiple areas to increase impact. Since California community colleges are in the early stages of adopting guided pathways, research on the decision-making processes of college leadership in applying this framework is limited. The purpose of this multiple case study was to describe the role of strategic governance in the implementation of guided pathways at scale at California community colleges.

Methodology: This phenomenological qualitative study used a multiple-case embedded case study methodology to collect data aligned with the four imperatives of strategic governance theory. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 15 campus leaders involved in guided pathways implementation at three community colleges in Southern California. Archival records and documentation were used to triangulate the data.

Findings: Colleges balance the imperatives of involvement, efficiency, environment, and leadership across the domains of strategic planning and governance when implementing guided pathways. Inclusiveness, intentional alignment, interdependent leadership, and internal/external synergy emerged as essential elements of strategic governance during pathways efforts.

Conclusions: Community colleges leverage inclusive and credible strategic planning and governance systems to create a stable foundation for institutional redesign. A networked system that interfaces informal elements with formal structures promotes and accelerates efficiency, while a proactive, reflective, student-centered approach to managing environmental demands helps maintain focus. Interdependent leadership mechanisms that are culturally compatible and responsive to institutional needs facilitate efficiency and involvement in implementation. The guided pathways framework provides colleges with a systemic model for developing overall institutional effectiveness.

Recommendations: Community college leaders should deliberately increase engagement in decision-making processes and strengthen the integrity of strategic planning and governance systems. Leaders should define the parameters of pathways teams, establish logical connections between informal and formal structures, and encourage mutual reliance in pathways leadership. Leaders should cultivate a systems mindset and use embedded reflective practices to guide implementation.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hightower, Len
Commitee: Mueller, Kathryn, Rabitoy, Eric
School: Brandman University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 80/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Community college education, Educational leadership, Organization Theory
Keywords: California community colleges, Change management, Guided pathways, Shared governance, Strategic planning, Student success
Publication Number: 10936242
ISBN: 978-0-438-40683-4
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