Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Higher Education Administration

Major Professor

J. Patrick Biddix

Committee Members

Norma T. Mertz, Gary J. Skolits, Karen Boyd


Since the recession of 2008, small, private institutions have faced increased challenges, including little to no return on endowments, reductions in philanthropic support, escalating overhead costs, competition for students, families in need of additional financial aid, and growing public concern about the cost of higher education (Brown, 2011). From 2002 to 2012, 49 four-year, private, not-for-profit higher education institutions closed (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2012). Many were in a state of decline for years before closure (Porter & Ramirez, 2009). However, closure is not the only outcome of institutional decline. Institutional revitalization is an alternative to closure. Limited research has been conducted in the area of revitalization and college turnaround. Due to the changing landscape of higher education, it is crucial for higher education administrators at small, private institutions to not only understand what determined decline but also factors or decisions that determined institutional revitalization. Participants in this study included eight senior administrators, faculty, staff, and governing board members. A case study methodology was employed to provide a thorough and complete understanding of the case.

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