Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Joseph C. Rost, PhD, Director; Wallace F. Cohen, EdD; William P. Foster, EdD; Irene S. Palmer, PhD


academic senate, California, community colleges, higher education, organizational effectiveness


The purpose of this research was to study the effectiveness of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. The four major objectives were: describe the historical development of the Senate; determine the effectiveness of the methods by which the Senate provides for community college faculty to participate in academic and professional governance; determine the effectiveness of the Senate, as understood by the membership and others with whom it interacts, in meeting the purpose and goals which the organization and relevant others have established for it; and, interpret the impact of the Senate on its environment. The method of study was naturalistic and included: (1) Participant Observation, centering on accreditation issues; (2) Questionnaires, distributed to three groups (faculty-- 46%, senate presidents-- 70%, college president-- 70%); (3) Interviews, elite and informal, conducted with individuals who had special knowledge about the Senate; (4) Paradigm (three), developed as a perspective for data analysis, based on organizational effectiveness behavior, which are conceptually discrete but empirically related, were used to frame and integrate the analysis. The findings indicated the Senate history has been influenced by legislative and cultural/social events, as well as California economy. Historically, the senate participated in shared governance and collegial activities in numerous ways. The data analysis revealed that, in general, the Senate was viewed as less effective by the faculty and college presidents, and most effective by senate presidents and interview respondents. Questionnaire respondents were requested to provide an overall effectiveness evaluation of the Senate. The faculty thought the Senate Moderately Effective while the senate and college presidents considered it Effective. When the effectiveness behavior characteristics of the paradigm were juxtaposed against Senate behavior, characteristics of all three paradigm were often demonstrated singularly, as well as simultaneously. The conclusions identified four major problem areas: (1) Communication with faculty members; (2) Need for local senates to develop more uniform strength statewide; (3) Need for the Senate to actively consider its role as a political force; (4) Concern for whether the Senate can maintain or increase its effectiveness without a formalized method or program for leadership development.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access