Community college administrators as educational partnership champions: phenomenological perspectives

This study explored, through the use of phenomenological research methods, the experiences of community college administrators in the development and implementation of educational partnerships. The study focused on the actions of these administrators who serve as partnership "champions" in ventures related to community, economic and workforce development involving multiple organizational partners. In the aftermath of the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression, community colleges struggle to find viable solutions to meet programmatic and service needs. Partnerships with public and private entities, facilitated by these champions, appear to be more important than ever. The purpose of this study was to explore champions' practice of individual agency, as well as other personal and social influences on and by partnership champions, as they retrospectively assessed their experiences in educational partnership development and implementation. Phenomenological research methods were utilized to capture and interpret the essence and meaning of the lived experiences of these partnership champions. It is intended that study findings will be useful to leaders and policy makers seeking to improve the practice of educational partnerships involving the community college. Further, it is intended that findings will assist current and future partnership champions to better understand their own influences and motivations while improving their practice related to educational partnerships.