Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




John R. Thelin


The purpose of this study was to investigate the policy making process used in a higher education institution with an academic health center when dealing with social justice issues. How the policy group was constituted, the components of the policy, and policy implementation and oversight issues were included. An attempt was also made to explore factors which could facilitate or impede the policy making process.;The development of an AIDS policy at Virginia Commonwealth University served as the case study. This institution, with one of the ten largest academic health centers in the United States, is a state-supported urban research university.;The activities of the various AIDs policy making and guideline development committees over a five-year period were chronicled. Interviews were conducted with involved university administrators and officials, the advisory committee on infectious diseases, and the members of the policy subcommittee. A review of pertinent administrative files was done.;It was hypothesized that when faced with high profile social justice issues such as the infectious disease AIDS, higher education institutions will employ atypical policy making methods. It was concluded that, although the process was over a prolonged period of time and there was more widespread involvement of the academic community and related state agencies, usual policy making methods prevailed.;Further study is indicated with other social justice issues in this type of institutional setting. Additionally, information is needed on the policy making process for social justice issues at other types of colleges and universities.



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