The historical literature about postsecondary education in British Columbia, as in many jurisdictions, is fragmented, paying unequal attention to public colleges and universities, vocational colleges, apprenticeship, continuing education, and private institutions.
Robert Cowin synthesizes these pieces, providing a comprehensive overview of the emergence and evolution of the provincial postsecondary system. He then defines three distinct theoretical lenses - social justice, human capital formation, and marketization - and applies each in turn to an analysis of five significant transitions. This dynamic systems approach, in which Cowin examines interactions across sectors, allows him to delineate the cumulative and complementary ways in which sectors have affected one another.
Postsecondary Education in British Columbia provides a thoughtful critical analysis of the role of social justice, human capital, and the market in the development of the institutional arrangements - the distribution of institutions by size, mission, type, and location - and policies that have shaped contemporary education in the province.
Robert Cowin is a former director of institutional research and planning at Douglas College.