Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Educational Foundations & Leadership
Community College Leadership
For years, scientists, policymakers, business leaders, and entrepreneurs have warned of social, environmental, and economic risks throughout society. Although researchers have explored the role of baccalaureate-granting institutions in addressing wicked problems of sustainability through multi-stakeholder initiatives, the role of community colleges in addressing wicked problems of sustainability through multi-stakeholder initiatives was largely unknown. Additionally, a research gap existed regarding how the mission of community colleges is aligned with addressing wicked problems of sustainability, such as poverty, inequality, hunger, homelessness, and climate change.
This qualitative case study aimed to answer two research questions: (1) How do leaders of multi-stakeholder initiatives describe the role of community colleges in entrepreneurship, economic development, and addressing wicked problems of sustainability? (2) How do community college leaders in multi-stakeholder initiatives describe how the mission of community colleges is aligned with addressing wicked problems of sustainability? Purposive sampling was used to recruit twenty-eight participants, including thirteen program leaders of MSIs and fifteen community college MSI leaders. The program leaders have (a) addressed social, economic, and environmental wicked problems of sustainability, (b) included community colleges or trade schools as stakeholders, (c) yielded impressive measurable outcomes that are documented, and (d) incorporated entrepreneurialism and/or entrepreneurial problem-solving. Data collection involved semi-structured interviews, along with retrieval of artifacts in the form of research studies, government reports, and related websites and/or entrepreneurial problem-solving. Data collection involved semi-structured interviews, along with retrieval of artifacts in the form of research studies, government reports, and related websites.
Findings indicated the community college roles include educator, strategic leader, local convener, economic development partner, and grant partner. Findings also indicated that the mission of community colleges is aligned with addressing wicked problems of sustainability (SDGs). The value created by the entrepreneurial programs served to strengthen the mission alignment through increased access, student success, economic development partnerships, and support for local communities.
The study concluded with a recommendation for policymakers, funders, and community college leaders to allocate pilot funding for the creation of a community college plan for SDG localization, as well as a community college systemic innovation lab (I-Lab) to further develop and execute the plan. The overarching goal of the I-Lab is to address wicked problems aligned with the community college mission through open-access, scalable, localized, and data-driven strategies.
Steidle, Samantha B..
"Exploring the Role(S) of Community Colleges in Addressing Wicked Problems Through Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration: An Entrepreneurial Approach to Sustainability"
(2021). Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Dissertation, Educational Foundations & Leadership, Old Dominion University, DOI: 10.25777/a5w9-1802
Dissertation Brief Final
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Dissertation Summary Video 1
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Dissertation Summary Video 2
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Periodic Table of Activities
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Periodic Table of Entrepreneurial Value Creation