Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Teaching, Learning, and Leadership


There has been little research done in education to determine what makes programs sustainable once the person who started the program has left or funding has decreased or disappeared. Innovative and successful programs are frequently started only to close or to reach a dead end. This study will seek to determine what components are necessary to sustain and grow a Career and Technical Education program. The primary audiences for the research study will be community college and university teacher preparation departments and career and technical education departments.

A survey was sent to Occupational Education Studies (OES) students and to OES professionals at the 14 partnered community colleges and Western Michigan University (WMU). Follow-up surveys were sent to students and professionals who did not respond to the original surveys.

Three major themes were identified: (1) the recruitment strategies that were most successful in getting students into the OES degree program, (2) the levels of satisfaction for OES students and the professionals from the community colleges and WMU staff that have participated with the OES teacher educationprogram, and (3) the factors that affect sustainability of a program.

Respondents were satisfied overall with the OES program and its components. Students were least satisfied with understanding the steps needed to complete the OES degree. The most successful recruitment strategies were the OES brochures and WMU guidance staff. Additional information shows that occupational instructors and community college and WMU transfer counselors need to better understand the OES program so that they can share information with potential students.

Students enrolling in the OES program are from within a 100-mile range. One interesting finding is that the three schools that have the most students transferring are not the largest community colleges within the 100-mile radius. Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Muskegon Community College, and Southwest Michigan College account for almost 50% of students transferring.

The factors that will affect the sustainability of the OES program include geographic location, number of marketing techniques used by individual community colleges, and the involvement of the deans of occupation at the community colleges.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access