Impact of Mission Differentiation upon Access Programs

Bastedo, M. N., & Gumport, P. J. (2003). Access to what? Mission differentiation and academic stratification in U.S. public higher education. Higher Education: The International Journal of Higher Education and Educational Planning, 46(3), 341-359. This is one of the most important articles written about access policy in the past several years. Rather than focusing on battles occurring at individual colleges regarding access policies and programs, it describes a national trend that is impacting similar programs across the U.S. People working at colleges that are undergoing significant "mission differentiation" and "strategic reogranization" should pay particular attention to this article.
This article analyzes developmental education policy in Massachusetts and New York to examine recent policy decisions regarding the termination of academic programs, elimination of remedial education, promotion of honors colleges within each state system. A result of these policy decisions has been to increase stratification of programs and students within a public state higher education system as well as with individual institutions within the state system. The authors argue that more intense analysis needs to be conducted before systematic changes are made within education systems to avoid or at least forecast major changes in the stratification of student opportunity to attend postsecondary education.