Date of Award
Dissertation in Practice
Sarah S. Hurtado
Cecilia M. Orphan
Mike Hoa Nguyen
Higher education, Neoliberal, Policy discourse analysis, Poststructural, Public higher education, State appropriations
State funding for higher education is one of the most pressing issues facing both institutions and policymakers in 2022. Colorado has seen significant declines in the amount of state funding per student over the past two decades, resulting in increases in student burdens for tuition. Policy discourse analysis through a poststructural and neoliberal lens provided insight towards the legislative process and the discursive themes utilized by Colorado policymakers during the 2021-22 legislative budgeting cycle. Twelve artifacts were analyzed, including a mix of policy briefs, hearings, and budget and appropriations reports, for discursive data related to the state’s appropriations for public institutions of higher education. Artifacts came from the Governor’s Office, Colorado Department of Higher Education, Colorado Joint Budget Committee, and Colorado legislative staff offices.
Results showed a significant bias towards neoliberal discussion, reasoning, and motivations regardless of political party or state office. Courses of discussion fell primarily around three themes: student finances, institutional funding, and economy and workforce discourses. In addition to textual analysis, visual analysis was also undertaken. Overall, discourse themes remained consistent from office-to-office with small indicators of attempted independence between participants. Based on these results, policy influencers should be aware of neoliberal pervasiveness and find ways to either subvert the status quo or commit to overt reactionary stances.
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Willers, Nathan, "Policymaker Discourse in Colorado Public Higher Education Appropriations" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2093.
Received from ProQuest
Higher education, Education policy, Education finance