Date of Award

8-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Educational Administration

Major Professor

E. Grady Bogue

Committee Members

Norma T. Mertz, Ralph G. Brockett, C. Warren Neel

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to describe the factors that influenced the board of trustees at Mississippi College and Georgetown College, KY to sever governance ties with their respective state Baptist Conventions and to describe the impact of the decision on the college administration, academic operations, lay governance structure and denominational relationship on the two institutions. The research questions guiding this study were:

1. What were the factors that influenced the decision-making process to make a change in governance relationship between the institution and the state Baptist convention?

2. What has been the impact of the decision to sever the governance ties with the Baptist state convention on the college administrative and academic operations, lay governance structure and denominational relationships?

Data for this study was collected from 46 in-depth, one-on-one interviews with the current and former presidents, trustees, faculty members, the college legal counsel and the current and former executive directors of the state Baptist conventions. Additional data was collected from observations, field notes, media sources and internal college documents.

The findings indicated four themes emerged as factors that influenced the board of trustees’ decision at Mississippi College and five themes emerged as factors that influenced the board of trustees’ at Georgetown College. A cross-case analysis of the data revealed that two themes at both institutions correlated with the remaining themes independent to their respective institutions. In both cases the findings indicated that the trustees’ decision had no impact on the college administration or academic operation; however, there was a substantial impact on the lay governance structure and relationship with the state Baptist conventions.

It is suggested from these findings that factors which influence the decision-making process of lay governing boards in higher education and the outcomes of these decisions are just as complex, complicated and divergent as those in the for-profit sector. The study provides discussion on the conclusions, current implications and recommendations for future research.

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