Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Center for the Advancement of Education


The purpose of this developmental study was to design and evaluate a community development model for North Lake College, a suburban campus of the seven member Dallas County Community College District. This was in response to the mandate of the District that each campus include community development in its strategic planning and evaluation. The model addressed the lack of a systematic method of assessment and, when implemented, enabled the college to effectively monitor changing demographics, diverse populations and trends, and to make appropriate action plans in response to these changes. The model design was based on the concept of a grassroots political campaign coupled with neighborhood ethnographic methodology. Part One of the model outlines methods of data collection, and Part Two applies the data collected to the institution. The study was guided by the following research questions. 1. Can a community development model based on a grassroots campaign concept be effectively used in obtaining in-depth information about the community served by the college? 2. Can the data obtained from such a model be effectively utilized in strategic planning for a community college? 3. Will the model have general applicability to other community colleges? To evaluate the viability of the model, it was completely field tested in two target neighborhoods in the North Lake College service area. The field test lasted six weeks. The model collected data using four methods, each building on the other. Data were collected from: an internal audit of current community development activities: available formal sources; a pen and paper survey of college staff; and an ethnographic assessment of target neighborhoods by staff members who live in these neighborhoods. A Community Development Committee composed of this liaison staff analyzed the data collected, recommended specific plans of action, and then implemented these plans. Results of the study include the model, a demographic data base of the two target neighborhoods, affirmative answers to the three research questions, and realization of the original goals of the study which were to create: a longitudinal and systematic approach to assessment of the institution's services; a systematic model for recruitment and retention; a staff development component which creates an awareness and appreciation of service area issues and populations; and a communication network with identified emerging populations and other community agencies and institutions. Conclusions are that: 1. The model provides a comprehensive methodology for conducting external assessment in the service area. 2. Neighborhood ethnography and adapted grassroots political campaign strategy are workable techniques to use in external assessment. 3. This strategically planned model provides a creative framework to guide decision-making which can be tailored to any institutional circumstance or environment. 4. Opportunities and populations abound in the service area if the college has a means to get to them. 5. The design is best used in community colleges which have identifiable service areas and which can be divided into discrete neighborhoods. 6. This model may be useful for replication or adaptation at other community college campuses desiring a community development plan. 7. College and community images of each other will change as the college begins to work with community groups on a partnership basis. Recommendations for the improvement of practice are that: 1. Comprehensive community colleges should offer their services to all segments of their communities. 2. Community colleges should strive to develop in their service areas a sense of community with themselves as the center. 3. Colleges should use community development activities as a marketing device which advertises the events, courses, and exciting nature of the college in the community. 4. Clarification should be made on every campus of who is accountable for community development. 5. The financial aid office on campuses participating in community development should be reviewed to determine how it might play a more high-profile role in recruiting and retaining students. Recommendations for improvement of practice at North Lake College are that: 1. The model should be applied in all service area neighborhoods and a data base should be created for each population. 2. The Community Development Committee should be made a permanent committee of the college, and the Community Development Coordinator should le a staff member with release time. 3. The Internal Assessment should be updated quarterly. 4. A college-wide data base should be created of community development activities. 5. College liaisons should be thoroughly trained and the Community Development Handbook be more thoroughly written. 6. The college should spend two or three years developing a fully operational program for community development.

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