The changing role of the continuing education-community service component of public community/junior colleges of the State of Texas
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This researcher examined the continuing education-community service component of Texas’ public community/junior college districts by delineating its current financing patterns; measuring the attitudes and perceptions of the chief executive officers (CEOs) and continuing education administrators (CEAs); and analyzing the relationship between the level of institutional priority placed on the continuing education-community service component and the level of funding allocated for this function. A questionnaire developed by this researcher was sent to 50 CEOs and 50 CEAs at each of the public community/junior college districts. Data from the written survey and secondary data was used to obtain insightful and useful information about the continuing educationcommunity service component. The survey, analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics, obtained an overall response rate of 90 percent. Based on the data analyses, the following conclusions appear to be warranted: (1) the role of the continuing education-community service appears to be changing, partly due to the 1995 Legislative Session changes to fund certain continuing education courses viii at the same level as credit courses as evidenced by the dramatic growth in reported contact hours and additional study results; (2) the continuing education-community service component is still dependent upon generating self-supporting funds; (3) CEOs and CEAs have different opinions as to whether or not the continuing educationcommunity service component is (a) well understood at the institution, (b) receives fair recognition, (c) receives adequate financial support, (d) receives adequate classroom space, and (e) is expected to have the same quality standards as those expected from the academic technical-occupation and credit programs; (4) the continuing educationcommunity service component is defined as critical to the institution by CEOs and CEAs; however, there is strong agreement among both groups that the offering of freshman and sophomore courses and technical programs are the two most important roles for Texas public community/junior colleges; (5) continuing education-community service units dependent upon generating self-supporting funds receive significantly higher funding than those who are not dependent on such funding; and (6) whether or not the continuing education-community service component is defined as critical has no impact on the level of public service expenditures allocated to this unit.