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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Challenging boundaries : educational partnerships in public/ private post-secondary health programs in British Columbia Reed, Diane E.


The purpose of this interpretive/descriptive qualitative study was to develop a framework to enhance our understanding of educational partnerships in health programs between public and private post-secondary institutions in British Columbia (B.C.), Canada. In B.C., both public and private post-secondary institutions offer health programs for employment purposes. Through interviews with representatives of institutions in both sectors, industry stakeholders, and government, this study documented that there were limited interactions and few existing partnerships between the two types of institutions. Significant distrust and negative attitudes toward potential partners were evident although advantages and positive strategic outcomes of partnerships, as well as examples of potential partnerships, were cited by interviewees. Perspectives from interviewees about the role of the B.C. government with regard to private institutions and potential partnerships between the two sectors of education were also documented. Partnership vignettes were created based on the reports of interviewees. The academic literature about partnerships in business, the academic literature about post-secondary education, and information from a variety of sources about the context of post-secondary education in B.C., including mechanisms government uses to influence post-secondary institutions, were used to reflect on the interview findings. Distinctions between public and private post-secondary institutions were identified. Reasons for the lack of partnerships were proposed, including lack of knowledge about the potential partner, philosophical disagreement, concerns about quality in the private sector, and "bad experiences" with the opposite sector. A typology of purposes of partnerships was proposed. Matters related to institutional compatibility, based on the concepts of institutional complementarity, self-sufficiency, the concept of adaptive efficiency (Alter & Hage, 1993), as well as competition between institutions, willingness to collaborate, and the purposes of the partnerships being contemplated, were considered. The concept of boundaries as a framework for understanding partnerships between the two types of institutions was developed. Boundaries identified included philosophy and values, the culture of institutions, administrative/management, attitude, and institutional accountabilities. Recommendations for researchers, educators/educational administrators, and policy-makers were provided.

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