Quality of life in a rural community: Perceptions of the role and contributions of the small, rural community college
Community colleges play a fundamental role in higher education. They are open-access institutions, providing higher education services to individuals from a variety of backgrounds. Community colleges also provide important workforce development and training opportunities to help develop the local economy. Today, states and the federal government are increasing efforts to increase accountability in higher education. As community colleges face the challenge of responding to accountability measures, it is important for institutions to begin reexamining their role within the community.
This dissertation research explored the phenomenon of quality of life and the role of a small, rural community college in contributing to quality of life using the Community Capitals Framework and Sense of Community Theory as a theoretical framework. Qualitative data collection occurred using focus group interviews at multiple sites. This study contributes to the literature on higher education and community development by further developing an understanding of rural communities and community colleges by exploring the impact of the small, rural community college in contributing to quality of life in a rural community.