Ed.D. Dissertations

Date of Award

6-2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

College

College of Education

Department

Education

Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.

Faculty Chair

Chad Becker, Ph.D.

Content Specialist

Chris Jenkins, Ph.D.

Content Reader

Melanie Boyle, Ph.D.

Keywords

multi-campus institution, higher education, intercampus tension, leadership

Abstract

While institutions spend more resources addressing affordability, access, and accountability measures, they face the added pressures of retirements in upcoming years. Consolidating administrative structures by forming multi-campus institutions is one potential solution that purports to save money and preserves access for students. Unfortunately, multi-campus institutions face intercampus tension that may reduce the expected gains in efficiency. In this phenomenological study, 11 experienced multi-campus administrators were interviewed regarding intercampus tension and leadership at multi-campus institutions. Analysis of the interview transcripts utilized Moustakas’ modification of van Kaam’s method and resulted in identifying competition for resources, differences in campus culture, local demands on individual campuses, degree of centralization, organizational structure, and employee isolation in decision-making as primary sources of tension. Participants noted several key competencies required to lead in a multi-campus institution including collaboration, communication, and listening. All participants engaged in some form of distributed or servant leadership models. Results indicate that organizational structure and an institution’s degree of centralization should be balanced to afford key services to students and employees while maintaining consistent processes and definitions to minimize intercampus tension. Campuses also face tension over culture dissonance; interactions between employees on different campuses can help develop an understanding of the unique contributions of each campus towards a singular institutional mission. It is critical for multi-campus administrators to spend time focused on communication and spending time on different campuses to increase interactions with employees and to understand the culture of each campus.

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