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Selecting a permanent site and planning an urban campus for the University of Massachusetts-Boston, 1964-1973: A case study of the impact of state and local politics on policy formulation and planning for an urban public university
Major decisions for public universities are often shaped by the political dynamics which function continuously inside the institution and within the larger external community. A persistent problem in the study of higher education is the need to better understand this complex external environment and to build adequate consideration of it into the planning and decision making process. This study examined a particular instance of planning and decision making for an urban public university; the site selection process for the Boston campus of The University of Massachusetts. It identified the major components and dynamics of this prolonged search and developed recommendations which can be generalized to similar institutions. Study methods included review of University archives and contemporary news media, interviews, and review of public records. The researcher first sought to describe the broader context in which Massachusetts public higher education developed during the decades prior to the sudden decision to create a Boston campus for the University of Massachusetts in 1964. Then a chronology was constructed describing major events and decisions reached during the site selection process. A particular effort was made to determine the nature and methodology of the University's planning process. The study then examined the internal organizational structure and political environment within the university and the broader political and economic environment in the external community in order to assess their impact on the final outcome. A key finding was that the immediate local political and economic context surrounding an urban public university will have a profound impact upon policy decision making for the university. Since the near neighbors of such an institution will tend to view its presence in terms of its immediate impact on their daily lives and not in terms of its broader long term benefit to society, this local context must be known and understood by the university's decision makers. Lack of adequate state-wide coordination of the development of public higher education in Massachusetts during the 1960's and the lack of an adequate public relations effort on the part of the University were major contributing factors which hampered the site selection process.
Higher education|School administration|Education history
Whittaker, John Peter, "Selecting a permanent site and planning an urban campus for the University of Massachusetts-Boston, 1964-1973: A case study of the impact of state and local politics on policy formulation and planning for an urban public university" (1989). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9001578.