Navigating in a building sea of change: Successful growth strategies of two private higher education institutions

Jo Ann Rooney, University of Pennsylvania


There is much that continues to be written about the growing crises within higher education, both from those directly involved in its institutions and those viewing these institutions from outside of the academy. The changing environment and the need for higher education to adapt and change are not questioned, but understanding successful change creates greater uncertainty and debate. There is also affirmation that colleges and universities must be able to change strategically numerous times in order to survive and thrive. Yet, while the challenges are virtually universal and the needs to adapt to change indisputable, the ability of higher education to successfully implement change has yielded mixed results. With many private colleges and universities being highly dependent on tuition revenues, the ability to develop strategic growth plans that provide some economies of scale, increase efficiency and productivity of resources and decrease the vulnerability of institutions to even modest changes in enrollment will provide foundations for long-term viability. Developing the capacity to grow enrollment, improve student retention, enhance graduation rates and build endowment income serve as the formidable goals of the strategic plans for many such institutions. This research focuses on two private institutions of higher education, Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky and Regis University in Denver, Colorado, that have each developed and pursued different strategies for growth and changed their institutions. The overall focus of this research project is fourfold: (1) To provide a detailed description of two examples of private institutions of higher education that had developed and implemented growth strategies and have successfully changed the institutions to support this growth; (2) To explain the processes followed by these institutions and examine how the change actually occurred from the perspective of numerous individuals involved in various aspects of the planning and organizational change; (3) To discover and describe, through detailed analysis of circumstances, relationships and events, those factors that influenced the development of the growth strategy and the successful changes in the organization; and (4) To compare and contrast the degree of growth at both institutions and determine the differences and similarities in the change process.

Subject Area

Higher education|School administration

Recommended Citation

Rooney, Jo Ann, "Navigating in a building sea of change: Successful growth strategies of two private higher education institutions" (2005). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3168044.