An Analysis Of The Shared Governance Practices In The Jamaican Community College System: Faculty Perspectives

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Higher Education Program


Doctor of Education

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Shared governance has been part of both the American as well as the Jamaican academic experience for many years. It is well known to American community colleges and higher education in general, as a practice that includes faculty in academic decision making and policy. However, in Jamaican community colleges it was unclear what the practice meant. The question that was raised in this study was one that looked at the attitudes towards shared governance in the Jamaican community colleges. Obviously the two systems, American and Jamaican, are different culturally, but the researcher wondered how faculty would respond to inquiries concerning their feelings about shared governance in Jamaican community colleges. The researcher, focused on governance, use a modified version of the AAUP's Faculty 2001 Survey, to examine the attitudes of Jamaican faculty toward shared governance. Ramos Seven Indicators of Shared Governance which operationalized shared governance as a climate for governance, joint decision making, organizational environment, communication, role of board, role of principal, and role of faculty, was included as part of the survey. Personal and institutional characteristics were used as variables to measure against the seven tenets of shared governance. A quantitative research design, using both descriptive and inferential statistics, was employed. The wider societal culture, an autocratic top-down inflexible leadership structure, was found to play a major role in how shared governance was operationalized in Jamaican community colleges. In open-ended questions, the researcher was able to discern issues of preference for shared governance by faculty members. However, the academic system was found to be overly autocratic and inflexible to faculty inclusiveness, and displayed very similar attributes of the top-down, inflexible leadership structure of the country. Nevertheless, faculty in general remained adamant about their preference for shared governance to be employed in Jamaican community colleges.