The Perceptions of Selected University Administrators on Economic and Associated Decision-Making Factors Related to Institutional Involvement in Distance Education
Guthrie, Miriam E.
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This study investigated the perceptions of Chief Financial Officers and primary Distance Education Administrators on economic and institutional decision-making factors influencing institutional involvement in distance education, and the economic readiness criteria and business plan components necessary for institutions to be strategically successful in distance education. Data were collected via an online questionnaire from a sample of 151 Carnegie Foundation Classified Doctoral/Research Institutions–Extensive. Responses from 80 institutions (31 Chief Financial Officers and 72 Distance Learning Administrators) indicated that 78.6% of all institutions planned to increase their institutional involvement in distance education and 19.4% planned to maintain their current involvement in distance education. This study indicated that administrators should consider the role that economic and other institution-related decision-making factors play in distance education, particularly in assessing reasons for institutional involvement and plans to not start, maintain or increase distance education activities. Statistically significant relationships were found to exist between an institution's plans for not starting, maintaining or increasing distance education activities and institutional demographics, institutional engagement, specific core values, and distance education business plans. Economic factors were also found to impact institutional involvement in distance education. Specifically, addressed were institutional readiness criteria for successful involvement in distance education, components of a business plan, and institutional assumptions about distance and higher education. The predominant markets for Research I institutions are graduate (43.1%) and undergraduate students (27.3%), and markets are selected primarily in accordance with institution mission, support of the strategic plan, and to address a specific market niche. Findings indicated that traditional core values are either not influenced by distance education or positively influenced. With respect to business plans, 25.2% indicated that no business plans were present for distance education, 19.4% were not certain, with the remaining reporting that business plans existed for university-wide and/or individual initiative levels.
- Doctoral Dissertations