Do Boards Matter to Institutional Change? The Role of Governing Boards in Strategy Change at Small, Private Women's Higher Education Institutions
Small, private, women’s colleges served an important role historically and continue to do so today. The number remaining after the advent of general coeducation at private colleges and universities provide a niche in the diversity of higher education institutions. Many of the women’s colleges that remain today undertook significant changes in strategy to survive as dedicated single-sex institutions. Governing boards are central to intentional change efforts as they are responsible for mission and, by extension, strategy. Women’s college transitions are well studied, but the literature gives short shrift to the role of the boards in strategy change. Using qualitative methods through comparative case studies of Bay Path University and Agnes Scott College, this research describes the role of governing boards and board leaders at small, private, women’s colleges which leaned into their missions and identities to embark on strategy change. The research questions and case study analyses focused on how boards came to frame the need for strategy change, what the boards and the board chairs did and how they related to key stakeholders, and how the boards’ own work evolved. The findings demonstrate that governing boards and especially the board chairs are critically important to strategy change and that the boards’ work evolves to a higher plane with strategy change. The findings point to implications for practice for governing board chairs, other trustees, and institutional presidents. The research fills a gap in the literature on governing boards and trustees. Implications for practice are translatable not only to other niche college subsets with targeted missions and students, but more broadly to the many small, private, tuition-dependent colleges that share the challenges of declining enrollments, small endowments, and competition.
Higher Education Administration|Educational leadership
Shapira, Cynthia D, "Do Boards Matter to Institutional Change? The Role of Governing Boards in Strategy Change at Small, Private Women's Higher Education Institutions" (2022). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI29215823.