Factors Influencing Community Colleges to Offer Baccalaureate Degrees
Community colleges serve many functions in the American higher education system. They serve local populations, offer foundational coursework, and serve as the home of many occupational training programs (Dougherty & Townsend, 2006). Recently, a new function has emerged: the granting of baccalaureate degrees, also known as the community college bachelor’s degree (CCB). This type of degree was established in 2001 by the state of Florida and is continuing to gain popularity throughout North America (Bemmel, Floyd, & Bryan, 2008).While there are several critics of the CCB (Eaton, 2005; Levin, 2004; ...view middle of the document...
120-121). Several of these elements and their appearance within the literature are reviewed here. Not addressed within this literature review are the timeline, key partnerships, or the role of leadership.
Some resistance to the CCB is clear throughout the literature. Essink (2013) also found that resistance to the implementation of a new CCB was typically from internal sources and not external ones. Many of his participants believed that the offering of a CCB was deviating from the traditional mission of the community college (to offer preparatory work for eventual transfer to a four-year institution or train individuals for a specific occupation) and they often had questions about how they would function within this new paradigm. McKinney, Scicchitano, & Johns (2013) also surveyed administrators at 37 institutions offering CCB’s throughout the United States and found that the primary reason for offering such programs was to allow more place-bound students to obtain a bachelor’s degree and to provide educational offerings that were not available to the local area.
While there may be some opposition, the number of available CCB’s is not shrinking. In fact, the literature shows that the opposite is happening. Russell (2013) provides an excellent overview of the growth of CCB programs of late. She provides an outline of all CCB programs within the United States broken down by state. Additional information provided includes the year that CCB’s were first approved within that state, how many approved institutions can offer the CCB, the number of programs that are available and how many specifically address the high need areas of nursing and teacher education. This information might be useful for instructional administrators who are thinking about creating such a program so that they can determine if their state is supportive of this type of effort and what their competition might include.
Another driving force for the creation of the CCB has been the changes taking place within the workforce. Most occupations are now requiring at least a bachelor’s degree in order to be considered for the position. In the past, individuals with associate’s degrees—which the community college has been the provider of—was sufficient. This increase in educational demand has put pressure on four-year institutions to accept and graduate more students. Sometimes the demand is exceeding their ability to do so and thus this factor is supportive of an increase in CCB programs (Walker, 2005).
Existing Literature Reviews on CCB’s
Bemmel, E. P., Floyd, D. L., & Bryan, V. C. (2008). Perceptions and reflections of administrators: Community colleges transitioning to baccalaureate colleges. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 33(2), 151–176. doi:10.1080/10668920802564923
Bottorff, E.A. (2011). The community college baccalaureate: A study of capital costs in Florida. (Doctoral dissertation). Florida Atlantic University. ProQuest: AAT3480600. ...