New Jersey state college and university governance and policy implementation
The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the role that the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education played in determining higher education policy and implementation in relation to the role of New Jersey state college and university presidents, boards of trustees, faculty and the legislature. A case study method was used to answer the grand tour question: How is New Jersey state higher education policy developed and adopted? Focused, open-ended oral interviews were conducted with 30 participants. The themes that emerged from the interviews were the: (1) Roles of each constituent group in policy formulation and implementation; (2) Relationships between and among the different constituent groups; (3) Governance issues; (4) Funding for higher education; (5) Quality issues in higher education; (6) Influence of different constituent groups in higher education policy formulation and implementation.
Although there is a long-range plan for higher education in the state, it has garnered little recognition or support from institutional presidents, faculty, trustees or legislators, and there has been limited legislation passed or policy enacted.
Among the theoretical propositions suggested by the study were: (1) Increased autonomy for institutional presidents has led institutions to respond to market driven education pressures to ensure adequate funding. Increased competition has limited access to public education and endangered public education's status as a public good. (2) The state legislature, Commission on Higher Education and individual institutions are not effectively collaborating in setting or implementing a higher education policy agenda. (3) State higher education policy adoption in New Jersey is influenced by the governor of the state. He or she has the most influence to set the higher education agenda and enact policy reform.
Implications for each constituent group as well as recommendations for future research are included.
0514: School administration