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The Diverted DreamCommunity Colleges and the Promise of Educational Opportunity in America, 1900-1985$
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Steven Brint and Jerome Karabel

Print publication date: 1989

Print ISBN-13: 9780195048155

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195048155.001.0001

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The Process of Vocationalization: Mechanisms and Structures

The Process of Vocationalization: Mechanisms and Structures

6 The Process of Vocationalization: Mechanisms and Structures
The Diverted Dream

Steven Brint

Jerome Karabel

Oxford University Press

An atmosphere of amiable routine now surrounds North Shore Community College in the Boston suburb of Beverly. Still located on a main downtown thorough-fare, as it has been since it opened in 1965, the college serves an economically varied region, including both the affluent oceanside towns of Marblehead, Swampscott, and Gloucester to the north and the chronically depressed old mill towns of Lynn and Peabody to the southwest. By the mid-1980s, enrollments were heavily occupational, and both staff and students seemed to like it that way. “There’s more demand than there are seats in the technical programs,” said one counselor. “In allied health, there’s a very heavy demand—three or four to one. But generally in liberal arts, we can accept people until the first week of classes.” The staff tended to view the history of their college as a natural unfolding. “The original intent,” observed one dean, “was to provide something for everyone, and that’s what we’ve done.” But vocational education did not always predominate at North Shore. Indeed, in 1965, the college’s first year of operation, over 80 percent of North Shore’s students were enrolled in liberal arts-transfer programs, and many of the faculty were committed to keeping the college’s distinctively academic image. According to one long-time member of the faculty, “At first, some of the faculty . . . had the idea that we were some kind of elitist thing. For them, the important thing was having the smartest students. . . . Quite of few of them were from universities. They didn’t know anything about community colleges.” “Yes, there were some internal battles,” one dean acknowledged. “The occupational programs were a concern to some liberal arts faculty.” The faculty’s grumbling had little effect on Harold Shively, the first president of North Shore. Shively, a long-time associate of William Dwyer in New York, shared Dwyer’s commitment to building a vocationally oriented system, and he did not wait long to press his plans for transforming North Shore in the direction suggested by this commitment.

Keywords:   Advisory committee, Berkshire Community College, Cape Cod Community College, Digital Electronics Corporation, Engineering programs, General education programs, Holyoke Community College, Massasoit Community College, Placement programs

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