The educational metamorphosis: How three small colleges transformed themselves

Tiffany McKillip Franks, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

Institutions that have significantly improved their reputation and market position within the larger higher education community are intriguing. Such institutions are especially meaningful in light of recent research that points to the critical challenges small, independent colleges must face as they strive to survive, much less to thrive in this increasingly competitive marketplace. Furthermore, colleges and universities are often regarded as slow to change because of their distinctive nature. Yet some institutions are able to make dramatic changes that led to a position of much greater strength. Using purposive sampling, this study investigates the repositioning process at three small, private colleges and universities that have significantly improved their reputation and market position within the larger higher education community. The research focused on why the institutions sought change; what the factors and/or strategies were that led to repositioning; who the leaders were of the change process; and how momentum currently affects the institution. The data for this research was collected during intense campus visits at each institution consisting of interviews with 54 key personnel, and review of key institutional documents. The repositioning processes at three small private colleges reveal key sets of strategic decisions and courses of action that institutional leaders make based on their understanding of institutional position within the marketplace. The findings and recommendations from this study will help small private colleges and universities learn from one another.

Subject Area

Higher education

Recommended Citation

Franks, Tiffany McKillip, "The educational metamorphosis: How three small colleges transformed themselves" (2003). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3084859.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI3084859

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