Kenneth Meier, Butte College Vice President for Learning and Economic Development, has received the national 2009 Dissertation of the Year Award from the Council for the Study of Community Colleges (CSCC).
Meier's dissertation titled, "The Community College Mission: History and Theory, 1930 - 2000" was recognized by the Institute for Community College Research at the 2009 CSCC Annual Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.
"There is a lot of critical scholarship on community colleges, but relatively little is known about the history of the colleges and much of what is out there is superficial or one-sided. The field tends to be dominated by university-based scholars with ideological axes to grind. I felt it was time for an experienced community college professional to write a comprehensive, theoretically sophisticated history about the community college mission debate. The community college mission and outcomes have had a contested meaning for more than a century. My work is certainly a critical analysis of the historical development of the community college. But it is intended to help practitioners and scholars to work together to improve the institution for our students. Honoring the community college mission and the faculty and staff who carry it out was at the core of what I attempted to do," said Meier.
His dissertation analyzes the history of the national community college mission debate in the twentieth century. It combines historical research with organization theory and consensus social movement theory to clarify the community college mission and organizational behavior. His study explains the community colleges' mission as a historically contingent social and educational process driven by environmental pressures, institutional structure, organizational culture, community, and student demands.
"I am honored to receive this award from CSCC, which is the leading organization for professionals who study community colleges. I was flattered when many people whose work I have read and studied over the years, praised the dissertation as ‘intellectually satisfying' and a ‘break-through' in the study of community colleges," said Meier.
The co-advisory chairs for Meier's dissertation were Dr. John S. Levin, University of California, Riverside and Dr. Gary Rhoades, University of Arizona. In his letter of nomination for Meier's dissertation to CSCC, Levin wrote: "As a dissertation, this one has no parallels in higher education."
Meier was hired as the Vice President for Learning and Economic Development in 2006. He is an alumnus of Mt. San Antonio Community College, UCLA, UC Irvine, and the University of Arizona where he received his Ph.D. in History and Higher Education Theory.
The CSCC is an affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). Council members include university-based researchers and community college practitioners who further scholarship on the community college enterprise. The purposes of the Council are to: contribute to the development of pre-service and in-service education for community college professionals; conduct and disseminate research pertaining to community colleges; serve as a forum for dialogue between university professors, graduate students, and community college practitioners who study community colleges; disseminate information about related conferences and events; provide research and other services to the American Association of Community Colleges and its affiliate councils; and, to recognize outstanding service to, research in, and publication about community college education
The ICCR is directed by Dr. Richard M. Romano, and operates out of Broome Community College in Binghamton, New York.