Date of Award


Degree Name

Educational Leadership


College of Education

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Barbara Nicholson

Second Advisor

Ronald B. Childress

Third Advisor

Michael L. Cunningham

Fourth Advisor

L. Eric Lassiter


Community colleges are expected to contribute to economic development efforts by implementing new programs that respond to the needs of business and industry. Program development is complex, especially for community colleges in rural areas where business and industry are scarce. This qualitative study explores the factors that influence successful occupational programs at rural community colleges. Participants included administrators, faculty members, and students associated with three rural community colleges in West Virginia, as well as one state-level administrator and a former community college president. This study indicates the importance of five factors that influence the success of occupational programs: demand for the skills taught by the program, the leadership of the program director, the effectiveness of instruction, the support provided to students, and the relationship to business and industry.


Community colleges -- Curricula.

Community colleges - West Virginia.