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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Kerisa A Myers
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Educational Leadership, Research, and Technology
Title: Child Care Centers on Higher Education Campuses: Internal and External Roles and Director Leadership
Dr. Louann Bierlein-Palmer, Chair
Dr. Andrea Beach
Dr. Nicole McDonald
Date: Monday, November 9, 2009 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
3008 Beltline Campus - Grand Rapids
An increasing focus on early childhood education and brain research offers a prime opportunity for higher education institutions to research and formulate thought concerning quality child care. Currently, there is limited research examining the impact and roles of child care centers on university campuses. To add to the base of knowledge, this nationally-focused study examines the following broad question: “What value do campus child care centers offer to a given higher education institution and its surrounding community, especially from a center administrator’s perspective?”
An on-line survey was sent to over 400 campus child care directors at public and private two and four-year public and private college campuses to assess perceptions regarding their center’s internal and external roles, as well as each director’s role. A response rate of 191 (48%) was achieved.
Directors believe their centers are most successful within the university by offering a variety of care options, modeling age appropriate practices, and providing work opportunities for students. Campus centers are most successful in their external communities by modeling quality child care practices and secondly, by improving relations. This study found a lack of substantial barriers to the successful daily operation of most centers.
The dependent variables of this study are center integration, internal and external success. Independent variables include the number of years a director has served, years a center has been in existence, types of programs offered by the center, activities undertaken by the center director, and mission of center as understood by administrators. It is found that an active campus child care director with a prehensive grasp and contextual leadership positively influences integration into the university. On the other hand, a major finding of this study is that only a small percentage of centers are fully integrated.
Administrators should continue to support the function of a comprehensive center. Overall, study findings reveal that the perceived value of the campus center is through dissemination of its mission of education, training and meeting the needs of its constituents for the benefit of the university.