From Community College to College Community: Evolving a Metric for Collegiality in a Community College Setting
Carol Swain Lewis
As research indicates, the American community college, a post-secondary institution granting associate's degrees, is an unpredictable organization that has had a near-monumental impact on the scope of higher education in the United States . Because of the unique position of the community college within the realm of higher education and because of its mission to provide college-level transfer classes and community-oriented programs, as well as granting degrees and certificates, it has a historically unpredictable environment. Multifarious relationships within a community college organization allow one to posit that collegiality in a variety of guises injected into the framework of the college at a variety of levels could produce constructive results in an atmosphere where, according to all of the research, change is both rapid and at times volatile. As an adjunct to leadership, collegiality might become a stabilizing influence at all levels of the community college organization. Using a data collection journal that evolved for this study and that was completed by 44 respondents from 10 community colleges across the United States , the evidence gathered points toward collegiality as a positive influence on the uncertainties inherent to the American community college. The unity and stability implicated in a collegial environment allow that there is a strong, implied relationship between the problems and potential problems in the somewhat unpredictable American community college and an atmosphere that is both conducive to and supportive of collegiality. Finally, this study posits areas for subsequent examination and analysis in future studies: communication as an antecedent to collegiality; correlation(s) between spirituality and spiritual antecedents and collegiality; culture in the community college; development of a taxonomy of collegiality.
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