No Longer Junior Colleges: Integrating Institutional Diversity in Graduate Higher Education Programs

Jennifer L Lebron, Jaime Lester
Journal for the Study of Postsecondary and Tertiary Education  •  Volume 2  •  2017  •  pp. 147-163

This article argues that given the isomorphic pressures on both community colleges and four-year institutions, historic divisions between community college leadership programs and general higher education programs are no longer serving the needs of new scholars and practitioners in the field. Graduate programs of higher education should integrate an understanding of community colleges and institutional diversity in meaningful ways throughout a graduate curriculum now focused on four-year institutions.

Community colleges and four-year institutions are engaging in isomorphic change which is weakening traditional boundaries between these sectors to create a more integrated system of higher education.

Using a framework of institutional isomorphism, this article reviews recent literature on changes within community colleges and four-year institutions and provides recommendations for infusing this isomorphism into graduate higher education programs.

By infusing an understanding of institutional diversity into all graduate course-work, educators can prepare future scholars and practitioners for a changing higher education landscape and expand beyond reductive representations of the higher education field.

community colleges, graduate higher education, curriculum, isomorphism
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