Date of Award

1994

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

First Advisor

Satish Verma

Abstract

The public higher education system in Louisiana is facing a variety of problems. The Louisiana Legislature plays a vital role in the determination of policy regarding higher education in the state. Legislators have the responsibility of addressing current and emerging issues and finding solutions to problems. The purpose of the study was to determine the voting record of members of the 1992 Louisiana Legislature on issues facing higher education so as to infer legislative support for higher education. This purpose was accomplished by studying roll call votes on bills considered important to higher education in relation to personal characteristics of legislators. Data were collected on personal characteristics for all members of the 1992 legislature, including replacements. A panel of experts rated selected roll call bills voted on during the 1992-1993 regular and special sessions to determine the mean score for each bill. The mean score of each bill was applied to the appropriate yea or nay vote in determining a support for higher education score for each legislator. A model was developed for the senate that explained 33.1% of the variance in support for higher education. Seven variables in the stepwise regression model included legislative experience, business occupation, black race, number of bills introduced, education committee membership, legal occupation, and legislative committee leadership. A model developed for the house explained 21.4% of the variance in support for higher education. Five variables entered the stepwise regression model, including male gender, other occupation, democrat party affiliation, white race, legislative experience. The findings of the study indicated that there were more differences than similarities between the senate and the house research models in support for higher education. Legislative experience, race, and occupations, three variables common to both models, influence support for higher education differently in the two chambers. It is recommended that further study of the legislature include survey techniques to explore the influence of other factors contributing to the unexplained variance of legislative support for higher education.

Pages

90

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