Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Education


Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Shirley A. Freed

Second Advisor

Niels-Erik Andreasen

Third Advisor

Dale Twomley


Problem. Some higher education institutions are responding to internal and external forces created by the Information Age due to changes in technology, shifts in education delivery, and increasing financial pressures. Are there common processes among a number of selected institutions of similar size and control that could be emulated by peer institutions?

Purpose. The purpose of the study was to describe change processes in private institutions of higher education that are successful based on selected academic and financial data. The institutions selected initially for superior academic and financial statistics over a 5- year period were all church-related and therefore the study was expanded to consider how church-relatedness may have affected the institutions ability to change.

Method. A qualitative multiple case study methodology was used for this research. I selected three private institutions of higher education, the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor, Mount Saint Mary College, and Charleston Southern University, as my case studies. Semi-structured interviews with the President, Provost or Academic Vice- President, the Chief Financial Officer, and the President of the Faculty Senate formed the data for the study.

Results and Conclusions. Four major themes were found in the data from all three schools with similar sub-themes. The four processes used by the institutions were Enhancing Academic Delivery, Challenging the Fundamental Role of the Faculty, Improving Campus Life for Students, and Implementing Formal Planning Processes and Other Financial Issues. Additionally, the findings were compared to the existing body of literature related to change and specifically looked at the role of the leader using John Kotter’s eight-step process for implementing major changes in an institution. The study found no effect between the institutions’ church- relatedness and its’ ability to change. The study supports the existing body of knowledge regarding good change-management processes and expanded on this body of knowledge by giving specific examples of how those change processes are occurring. This information suggests ideas and recommendations for peer institutions of higher education to consider as they develop their own change processes in an ever-increasingly changing world.

Subject Area

Educational change, Universities and colleges--Religion.

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