Date of Award

1981

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

School

School of Education

Program

Higher Education Administration EdD

First Advisor

Bernard M. Lall

Second Advisor

Mercedes H. Dyer

Third Advisor

Joseph G. Smoot

Abstract

Purpose. The purpose of the study was to determine the impact the self-study and accreditation process had on the administration and management of selected accredited Michigan public community colleges. The study investigated the following questions: 1. Does accreditation bring about educational improvements? 2. Does accreditation protect the various publics which educational institutions serve? 3. Is accreditation a catalyst for educational change? 4. Does accreditation provide the spark which results in educational services of superior quality? Five categories of possible improvements and/or change which might result from an accreditation process were investigated: goals and objectives of the institution; curriculum, instruction and/or program services of the institution; organizational and administrative policies or practices of the institution; planning and decision-making practices of the institution; and personnel policies and faculty/staff relations of the institution. The population for this study was all of the Michigan community colleges which were accredited or reaccredited in the years 1975-1979. Thirteen of the twenty-nine Michigan public community colleges were included within these parameters.

Data Collection and Analysis. The self-study and on-site examining team reports were analyzed to identify recommendations and concerns and sorted into five categories named above. On-site visits were made to each institution where personal interviews were conducted with each college president, chief instructional officer, dean of continuing education, dean of students, and a faculty representative as well as student representatives. The opinions of the interviewees were recorded as to their perceptions concerning (a) the status of the implementation of each recommendation, and (b) the level of influence that the interviewees felt the self-study and accreditation process had on the implementation of the recommendations. A chi square test of significance was used to determine if the influence of the accreditation procedures on the implementation of recommendations was significant or did it occur by chance. A test was performed to determine the direction of influence from maximum to no influence. School size, years of accreditation, and source of recommendations were compared with the degree of implementation. Again, a chi square was used to determine significance. Of the 702 recommendations identified in the self-studies or visiting team reports, almost 80 percent were either partially or totally implemented as perceived by those interviewed. The institutional self-study appeared to be favored as a reasonable evaluation instrument by all educational leaders. Once problem areas were identified, commitment to problem resolution was very high. In relation to influence the accreditation process had on the implementation of recommendations, educational leaders felt an average of only 34 percent was a direct result of maximum or moderate influence. When coupled with the influence which was considered to be slight, the percentage increased to a range of 52 percent as evaluated by faculty to a high of 82 percent as perceived by deans of continuing education. Institutional accreditation was perceived to be important to the students interviewed. Sixty-three percent indicated they would have chosen another institution if their colleges had not been accredited.

Conclusions. Educational leaders recognize that the self study process is a valuable mechanism the results of which, if followed, would enhance the quality of instruction and services provided by educational institutions. Educators generally feel that the achievement of regional accreditation indicates an institution does provide credible services and, therefore, does protect the public which they serve. However, it is not a guarantor of educational excellence. There is agreement that only a quality, well-trained, competent faculty with professional integrity supported by a strong administration can produce educational services of superior quality.

Subject Area

Community colleges--Michigan, Accreditation (Education)

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