Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Center for the Advancement of Education


Tidewater Community College has had a long-standing commitment to make its education al offerings as accessible as possible to the citizens in its service area by using numerous off-campus sites for delivery of credit courses. However, only limited information had previously been collected concerning the characteristics, expectations, and level of involvement of the populations for whom these outreach activities are provided. This study was designed as a community assessment focused on the adults living in a residential area (8,900 homes) within the city of Virginia Beach, Virginia that is served by one of the college ' s off-campus centers (located at Kempsville Junior High). Its purpose was to collect data concerning the public's awareness, prior and anticipated use, and perceptions of this center, particularly the programs and services that were (or could be) offered there. The methodology employed for this focused "environmental scan" was a structured telephone interview of a randomly-selected sample of 391 citizens living within the junior high school's attendance boundaries. The interviews were conducted by trained TCC student volunteers over a three week period beginning of February, 1988, using a schedule of questions developed under the guidance of an advisory group consisting of selected college staff and faculty. Respondents answered a total of twenty questions related to their current awareness of TCC's presence anti offerings at the center , level l of support for such operations, their past participation in these programs and plans for future controlment, possible barriers to participation, preferred scheduling patterns for course offerings, information desired on different types of college programs/ services, plans for future employment or job training, and their opinions about the quality of the college's educational offerings for the community. Information was also gathered to build a basic demographic profile of the respondents. Among the key findings were: broad community awareness and support for this off-campus center, higher than average public participation at the site (as compared to college’s general penetration rate), significant interest in having a wider range of course offering s and information/advising services brought to the center , identification of key factors that serve as potential barriers (e.g. other time commitments, child care needs) to attendance at the center, high ratings for the college's community-based offerings, and determining that this population's demographic profile closely resembles the non-traditional student body (i.e. mature adult learner) of the main campus, with considerable potential for expanding the diversity and amount of programming at that location. Recommendations were made concerning improvements in future applications of the study design for other community assessments, along with suggestions for major increases in the college 's public information activities targeted to this population and in developing an extension office at this site to provide an on-going, personalized point-of-contact for residents wishing to become more familiar with, and involved in, the college' s various programs and services. Additional recommendations were made with regard to necessary follow-up activities to move beyond this initial "snapshot" of the population and collect more detailed data that would assist in effective college planning of what particular courses should be scheduled, anticipated enrollment, and the best means for delivering needed student services.

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