Faculty and administrator perceptions of the Council on Occupational Education accreditation self-study in Georgia's technical colleges
Wittig, Alexander H.
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This study explored technical college faculty’s and administrators’ perceptions of the accreditation self-study. The study sought to determine how technical college faculty and administrators perceive the self-study. Second, the study sought to identify and describe areas of common and differing perceptions of the self-study held by college faculty and administrators. Special interest was placed on the personal values underlying these perceptions. Third, the study examined how these perceptions influenced the institutional self-study. The study was designed as a qualitative multiple case study examining the phenomenon of self-study perceptions at three state technical colleges. The primary method of data collection was interviews with faculty and administrators. Data from the interviews were analyzed first as individual case studies focusing on each institution and then as a cross-case study encompassing all three colleges. The study found that both faculty and administrators agreed that accreditation enhanced the perceived quality of the institution; that institutional improvement was the primary desirable outcome of the self-study report; and that all members of the institutional community should contribute to the self-study report. However, faculty tended to have a negative view of the self-study process, calling it time-consuming and disruptive. Administrators perceived the process more positively and focused on its beneficial results. The study also showed that administrators often revised the self-study report to reflect their perceptions of the college’s operations. Finally, the study found that there were no discernable differences in the values of faculty and administrators, and that the perceptions and values of technical college faculty and administrators did not differ from those of their college and university counterparts. Rather than draw conclusions about self-study perceptions for all of Georgia’s technical colleges, this study determined that each institution operated within its own particular culture and by its own set of values. It is this culture and these values—not job title—that determined perceptions of the self-study process. Where the culture respected and supported divergent opinions and collaboration and where a well-managed and inclusive self-study process was valued, faculty and administrators succeeded in preparing a self-study report that accurately portrayed the institution.