Date of Award

2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Shirley A. Freed

Second Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Third Advisor

Richard Osborn

Abstract

Problem

The current sociological and economic environment faced by higher education in North America has inspired many institutions to form consortiums in an attempt to enhance institutional viability. The Association of Adventist Colleges and Universities (AACU) is a consortium of 15 Seventh-day Adventist institutions of higher education in North America. This consortium was formed as an attempt to increase collaboration, enhance quality, and augment institutional viability. The purpose of this study was to describe the current inter-institutional environment for collaboration among AACU member institutions. Currently, there has not been formal research into the collaborative environment of the Association of Adventist Colleges and Universities. Without an understanding of the status of inter-institutional collaboration in Adventist higher education, the path to increased inter-institutional collaboration is likely to fail.

Method

This study was a quantitative study using survey research methodology in which a survey developed by James Prochaska was adapted to assess inter-institutional collaboration among Adventist colleges and universities in North America. The survey was administered via web-based technology (Zoomerang) to faculty and administrators at the 15 Adventist institutions of higher education in North America. In particular, this survey and the Transtheoretical Model were chosen as they have been used to measure organizational change relative to elements of collaboration but have not been used within an inter-institutional setting.

Results

Analysis of stage of inter-institutional collaboration among Adventist institutions of higher education in North America found that approximately 57% of the participants are at the precontemplative or contemplative stages whereas about 42% are at the action or maintenance stages. Stage of collaboration is not related to gender, whereas work assignment as faculty or administration, age of the participant, and years of experience in Adventist higher education do have a significant relationship with stage of inter-institutional collaboration. The majority of faculty are at precontemplation whereas the majority of administrators are in maintenance. The data suggest that older participants tend to be further along in the stage of inter-institutional collaboration than are younger participants. Further investigation into the significance of the relationship of age and stage demonstrated that when faculty and administrator were analyzed by work assignment and age, there was no significant relationship between age and stage of inter-institutional collaboration. Years of experience was found to have a significant relationship with stage of inter-institutional collaboration. Analysis would suggest that more experienced participants are further along on the stage of inter-institutional collaboration, but when years of experience was analyzed by work assignment only, faculty demonstrated a significant relationship between stage and years of experience in Adventist higher education. Data analysis with respect to the relationship between stage of inter-institutional collaboration and the outcome measures of the Transtheoretical Model indicated a significant relationship between stage and behavioral frequency, decisional balance, and self-efficacy. There is a significant relationship between stage of inter-institutional collaboration and the linear combination of decisional balance, self-efficacy, and behavioral frequency. However, there is no significant interaction effect between stage of inter-institutional collaboration and the demographic characteristics of gender, age, years of experience in Adventist higher education, and work classification as faculty or administrator. The data suggest that the relationship between stage of inter-institutional collaboration and the linear combination of decisional balance, self-efficacy, and behavioral frequency does not depend on demographic characteristics.

Conclusions

Adventist higher education in North American is in the process of developing a more inter-institutionally collaborative system. This study described the environment for inter-institutionally collaboration within Adventist higher education and identified a variety of group-related stage differences. With group differences in mind, failure to match change processes with the stage of inter-institutional collaboration will decrease the likelihood of continued collaborative growth within Adventist higher education in North America. This study indicated that the Transtheoretical Model of human change is reliable across demographic characteristics and appropriate in the organizational environment.

Subject Area

Seventh-day Adventist universities and colleges--North America.

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