Strategic planning outcomes at four-year private colleges and universities

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Virginia Tech

The growing body of knowledge about the use of strategic planning in higher education focuses on the decisional processes and dynamics of such planning as conducted in an academic setting. Information about the outcomes of strategic planning initiatives, or the ways in which institutions change in relation to plan goals, has received little attention by researchers.

This qualitative study combined descriptive and case study methodologies to investigate what results occurred to meet strategic planning objectives at five small, four-year, private colleges and universities as measured by financial, enrollment, and programmatic indices. The case study method permitted an in-depth analysis of the relationship between individual institutional plans and their respective outcomes. The population consisted of thirty-two institutions awarded planning grants by the Consortium for the Advancement of Private Higher Education (CAPHE) between 1984-88. A purposive sample of five institutions was drawn from those institutions identified as having developed strategic plans by the end of the grant cycle. Evidence was gathered using IPEDS and CAPHE survey data, document analysis, and interviews. Data were analyzed using basic statistical procedures and qualitative methods. Further, data were standardized by means of common categories and reporting formats for the purposes of cross-site analysis.

organizational change, Education, Higher, strategic planning