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ERIC Number: ED554331
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 257
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3031-7711-8
Urban v. Suburban: The Examination of the Debate over Where to Site Two New Jersey Community Colleges
Noonan, Patrick S.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick
This research examines the debate surrounding the site selection of several New Jersey community colleges. It takes into account the 1960s time period in which they were founded. The process to establish a community college commenced with each county establishing a committee to assess whether or not there was a need to institute a county college within its boundaries. As each county deliberated where to locate its community college, New Jersey experienced civil unrest, a demographic shift from the cities to the suburbs, and race riots. In this study, two New Jersey counties, Essex and Mercer, are thoroughly studied in depth as to how they chose the sites for their community college. Two other counties, Passaic and Middlesex, are studied as a means of comparison. These counties were chosen since they contained urban and suburban locations as possible locales for their community college. These decisions were watched very closely by the community, the press, and many civic and religious organizations. The primary research question is: How did each of the two counties approach its decision where to site its community college and in what ways did the concept of race influence that decision? To examine these decisions, I adhere to a standard methodology of history where a review and analysis of primary and secondary sources are the key components. The county committees' reports that investigated the needs of a community college within each county, Trenton's responses to each county's recommendations, and other relevant reports are analyzed in depth. Other primary sources are newspaper articles, documents from the colleges' archives, institutional reports, and other government documents such as the minutes of college trustee meetings. Secondary sources have been identified as books and journal articles written about the events that took place during that period. Census data, education statistics, and college catalogs were also consulted. With the passage of the County College Law in 1962, the state was obligated to assist in the funding of these new public institutions in each county. However, the county freeholders in each county along with the county college trustee board they appointed could only select one main campus location for the entire county. While numerous factors were considered in determining where to locate each new community college, the final decision on location for the permanent site was made by the trustees and often met with controversy from members of the public. The debate stemmed from different communities having inflexible opposing views, often made on the basis of race. For the most part, suburban dwellers and inner city folks alike made the case where they wanted the county college to be located. In the open county college trustees meetings that were often powder kegs of emotion, several members of the public and various community groups voiced their opinions and often ranted their reasons concerning the county college's site. This factor, along with consultant reports, and surreptitious pressure from local politicians were the three significant reasons that swayed the outcome. Counties that decided on an urban first campus pledged they would eventually have a suburban campus. While those counties who initially chose a suburban main campus envisioned a future utopian urban locale. This political assurance of a second campus was very often written right into the Board of Trustees resolution that created the main campus. It appears that the trustees and the freeholders ameliorated the site debate as much as possible and tried to be "all things to all people." The final decision on location was often an amalgamation of local political agendas and government incentive programs to offset the true cost of land acquisition. While the state had to approve each county college site, the Department of Education usually went along with the recommendations that were set forth by the local college board of trustees. This historical study will investigate and report about the founding of Essex and Mercer County Community Colleges. Additionally, this dissertation will contribute to the larger understanding of the history of community colleges in America, specifically the development of the New Jersey community colleges during the restless decade of the 1960s. Since a similar review has never been produced against the turbulent political backdrop of the period, it is fitting to review the history of how the sites were chosen for Essex County College and Mercer County Community College. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Jersey