Date of Award

Fall 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership

Committee Director

Chris Glass

Committee Member

Kristine Sunday

Committee Member

Mitchell Williams


Existing research into the creation of articulation agreements focused solely on the functional aspects of these documents, such as maximizing transfer credit. However, little is known about the experiences of faculty and administrators at the community colleges and universities who create articulation agreements and how their experiences affect partnerships between institutions. This is especially important for high-stakes articulation agreements in industries that are under-employed, as institutions are expected to enroll large numbers of students to meet the demands of the market. Who takes charge in the creation of such articulation agreements is of interest for leaders of institutions seeking to create their own agreements.

The present study used a qualitative research methodology to perform a case study at five community colleges and universities in an east coast state in the U.S. Faculty and administrators at each institution were individually interviewed to capture their experiences as they worked beside and with one another to create an articulation agreement. Their use of social power across educational policy domains were then coded to describe how partnerships between and with one another are affected.

From an analysis of the data, four previously undescribed policy powers were identified. These policy powers work across four domains: personnel, beliefs, institutions, and practice. Individuals and groups used these powers singly and in compound to avoid, compromise, and partner with their colleagues. The ability of an individual or group to effectively influence others was dependent upon the strength of their power relative to others. Who participants identified as in-charge was dependent upon who exerted the most influence over them. The findings claimed are strengthened by the inclusion of participants’ own words used to describe their experiences

The findings of this research then help address in part the existing gap in the literature by describing how faculty and administrators at community colleges and universities partner with one another to create articulation agreements. The research also describes situations in which these groups avoid partnerships, which is valuable for institutions hoping to mitigate issues with their counterparts. By being aware of the policy powers used by group members in a high-stakes scenario, leaders at community colleges and universities can increase their odds of a successful partnership.