Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation in Practice

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Higher Education

First Advisor

Cecilia M. Orphan

Second Advisor

Michele Tyson

Third Advisor

Lisa Matye Edwards


Collective impact, College access programs, Mixed methods, Stewardship


The Partnership was established in 2015 when the Arbor Glen School District, Brook Heights Community College, and Remarkable Outcomes rallied around their common priorities of increasing college matriculation rates in their community. The Partnership created programming that promotes the preparation and transition of students into postsecondary education and the completion of a postsecondary credential. The COVID-19 global pandemic directly impacted The Partnership, including the loss of grant funding, changes in data reporting systems, changes in the delivery method of its services to students, and significant staff turnover. The combination of these factors caused The Partnership’s organizational structure, measurement systems, activities, and purpose to become less defined. While the members are still committed to working collaboratively to increase college matriculation rates, The Partnership needs a new formal, aligned, and coordinated approach in which to operate and collaborate after the pandemic.

I identified Collective Impact (CI) as a potential framework for The Partnership to operate, evolve, and sustain the work. Although not explicitly designed to be a CI initiative, The Partnership exhibited similarities to CI initiatives because it served as a cross-sector community collaboration focused on solving a critical issue within the community. I proposed that evaluating The Partnership’s implementation of the five CI conditions would allow the members to reflect on their current practices, celebrate their areas of strength, and consider ways in which they might adapt the initiative’s design and strategies.

To assist in the program evaluation, I created a CI framework comprised of CI performance indicators associated with each of the five CI conditions. These performance indicators provided the criteria for the data collection methods in the program evaluation. Using a developmental evaluation model (Patton, 2010) and convergent mixed-methods research design (Creswell & Creswell, 2018), I gathered quantitative and qualitative data to measure the extent and ways in which The Partnership implemented the five CI conditions. I analyzed the results and findings to determine each CI condition's implementation level and evidence. I then provided recommendations on how The Partnership could further implement the CI conditions to support the initiative’s continued work and sustainability.

This program evaluation identified that The Partnership had partially implemented four of the five CI conditions, showing the alignment between the CI framework and the organizational and operational structures already in place within The Partnership. Findings also included evidence of the critical role stewardship played within The Partnership. While these findings and results are specific to The Partnership, there are implications and suggestions for further research for other college access programs, CI initiatives, and CI theory and research.

Copyright Date


Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

All Rights Reserved
All Rights Reserved.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Diana C. Zakhem


Received from ProQuest

File Format



English (eng)


230 pgs

File Size

2.3 MB


Higher education