In the second half of the 1980s, laddered degree-completion programmes emerged as one of several responses of the British Columbia government, at a time of fiscal constraint, to demands for increased access to degree programmes. This chapter presents a case study of the joint development of a Health Sciences (BHS) degree programme by the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and the Open University component of the Open Learning Agency (OLA).
The Open University (BCOU), an open learning institution in which co-operation with other educational institutions plays a central role, collaborated with BCIT, a campus-based institution for which open learning, distance education, and co-operation with other educational institutions have been peripheral rather than core activities. Differences in the organizational cultures of the two institutions were critical to the process of programme development, as was the policy context.
Introduced in the late 1980s, laddered degree programmes for graduates of career/technical diploma programmes have gone on to have a major impact on the availability of degree-completion opportunities in the province. The needs and expectations of the major stakeholders in the post-secondary system-government, institutions, employers, the professions-are consonant with the development of such programmes. To understand these needs and expectations, it is necessary to place them in the context of the