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Executive leadership and political decision-making: A case study of the development and evolution of the community college system in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1957-1962
Politics plays an inevitable and integral role in the development of policy concerning higher education at the state level. Governors are fundamental to the political process of statewide higher education policymaking. This study examines the role which two governors played in the early development of community colleges in Massachusetts between 1957 and 1962. The purpose of this study is essentially two-fold. First, it seeks to tell a political story about two governors of different personalities, parties, and policy priorities. Focusing on the common historical theme of community college development, this story presents how the contexts of their times influenced the strategies and decisions of Foster Furcolo (1957-1960) and John Volpe (1961-1962) and how, in turn, these two men shaped the period in which they lived. The second purpose of this study is to analyze specifically how Furcolo and Volpe influenced the critical early years of community college development in Massachusetts. Furcolo held a passionate policy commitment to community colleges and his passion is largely responsible for their gestation and birth. Volpe was less personally committed, yet his administration witnessed a marked increase in funding and pace of campus planning. Analysis of this irony holds a number of significant lessons concerning gubernatorial responsibilities for policy formulation, legislative leadership, and public opinion leadership. This dissertation utilizes a case study research modus operandi. It includes a literature review which focuses on works related to politics and policy-making in higher education, as well as the American governorship and the range of gubernatorial power. The results of this study offer insights into how governors use the powers of their office to shape the policies of their eras and beyond. It also provides a view of how two different governors engaged the specific policy issue of community college development within the context of other demands and policy concerns of their administrations. Finally, it offers tightly defined lessons for the relationship between governors and higher education in contemporary times.
School administration|Community colleges
Mullen, James Hayes, "Executive leadership and political decision-making: A case study of the development and evolution of the community college system in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1957-1962" (1994). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9510510.