Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Patrick M. Jenlink

Second Advisor

Dr. Gwendolyn Etter-Lewis

Third Advisor

Dr. Patricia First

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Donald Thompson


A qualitative case study was conducted on the Affirmative Action Program at Western Michigan University. The study examined and analyzed documents stored in the University Archives which was to focus on understanding, interpretation and process.

What emerged out of the study was a description of the past and present efforts of the program, and how these factors related to one another including background, current status and environmental interactions.

The civil rights era, and governmental and judicial precedence set the tone and impetus for affirmative action strategies and policy on campus. This University-based affirmative action program was designed to give greater access to and support in higher education. Its ultimate goal was to enable minorities and women to have greater access through educational achievement, socioeconomic opportunity and stability.

Beginning in April, 1972, the centralized efforts of the presidential appointed Affirmative Action Coordinating Committee (AACC), later called the Affirmative Action Advisory Committee (AAAC), resulted in the first Board approved affirmative action plan in 1974 and, ultimately, the affirmative action program following the decentralization of the AAAC to implement and monitor all affirmative action at the institution.

Recurrent categories and themes emerged from the case record: (a) affirmative action program: establishing policy; (b) affirmative action program: developing and implementing the affirmative action plan; (c) affirmative action plan: work force analysis and determination of underrepresentation; and (d) affirmative action enforcement: claims of unlawful discrimination.

Categories and themes (a), (b) and (c) expose affirmative action efforts at this campus as that of establishing, implementing, and monitoring certain rules and regulations at the institution. Category (d) targets alleged violation of the rules and regulations, and provides an enforcement mechanism to regulate the rules by allowing provisions to correct and redress the alleged violation.

The study suggests further research both inter- and intra-University on topics that emerged from the case record, as well as future study recommendations made by experts in the field of affirmative action and equal employment opportunity.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Campus Only