Executive development for higher education: A case study of the Wharton -IRHE Executive Education Program

Venard Scott Koerwer, University of Pennsylvania


Market forces have changed the landscape of higher education from an insular industry focused on academic pursuits into a competitive environment requiring a market oriented, politically savvy mindset. In response to the market challenges, colleges and universities are attempting to manage themselves better, to become more market-driven (Day, 1990), and to redefine their missions so that they continue to remain relevant to a frenetic global marketplace—a marketplace that breeds competitors as a signal of a healthy economic outlook. Consequently, institutions of higher education need to understand the emerging competitive marketplace and to develop sound leadership practices and evolved management tools. The issue, then, of how the leadership of institutions of higher education is prepared for these challenges is of critical importance. In fact, the manner in which these institutional leaders practice good management and decision-making has become a matter of survival for colleges and universities. This dissertation is an exploration of some of the problems facing institutions of higher education. The pathway of problems leads to a vehicle created to address the need for better management practice and the creation of a market oriented, politically savvy mindset among the leadership of these institutions. The vehicle studied is the Wharton-IRHE Executive Education for Higher Education Program (Wharton-IRHE), a “just-in-time-educational” program for higher education institutional teams to explore these challenges. The Wharton-IRHE Program is particularly relevant for study because it comes at a time of great need in American higher education, and offers a unique solution—a model of educational development that caters to the needs of an institutional team working on the challenges of the institution, with individual and group development as a residual benefit. I evaluated this program using data from multiple sources. I explored its educational design in interviews with program faculty. I reviewed program evaluations completed by the program participants. These served as a guide in interviewing representatives from participating institutions regarding the impact the program had for them as an institution, as a group or team in attendance, and as individuals. The results I found were mixed, but largely positive. In summary, the program left both individuals and institutions asking for more, and in some cases, the institutions began to explore options for continuing the learning environment. This dissertation is a case study of the Wharton-IRHE Program as a vehicle for leadership development and institutional advancement for higher educational institutions.

Subject Area

Higher education|Business education

Recommended Citation

Koerwer, Venard Scott, "Executive development for higher education: A case study of the Wharton -IRHE Executive Education Program" (2001). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3030096.