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Navigating Change: A Study of British Columbia University-College Governing Board Responses to the Change in Status from University-College to University

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Thesis type
(Thesis) Ed.D.
Date created
In 2007, a new report for the post-secondary education sector was released by the province of British Columbia referred to as “Campus 2020.” This review was the first comprehensive look at higher education in British Columbia in 45 years. A year later, because of recommendations made in the report, the University Amendment Act created five new “Special Purpose Teaching Universities.” There are not many new universities created in Canada and the research on how to become a university is scarce. Moreover, what happens with the university governance, the leadership, and the strategy after the institution has changed its status has not been studied. Specifically, the culture-senate-research equilibrium (that is foundational to the bicameral structure of most universities, but very different from the unicameral, centralized, and hierarchical structure of most colleges) is reviewed in this paper. The new universities had originally been created under the College and Institute Act, and they were changed by the University Amendment Act—with manifestly different mandates, structures, and roles. The purpose of this study was to examine how the boards of university-colleges and colleges affected by the new university Act interpreted their new legislative status and to determine whether there were differences among the boards of the different institutions in how they implemented the changes in status and mandate for their institutions. The research relies on a qualitative design based on document searches and on interviews from board members of the new universities (board chairs, CEOs, and long serving faculty board members), from former senior AVED Ministry personnel, and from the author of the Campus 2020 report. The key finding indicates that there was no common approach in how the boards led the changes required. There was little specific guidance provided to the boards by the BC government or by the Campus 2020 report: it appears the boards were left to struggle with many of the changes on their own.
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This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
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Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: McClaren, Milton
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