Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Administration

Major Professor

E. Grady Bogue

Committee Members

Norma T. Mertz, Robert B. Cunningham, Malcom C. McInnis


The purpose of this study was to describe Tennessee higher education leaders’ perceptions of accountability policies and programs. Perspectives of fifteen higher education leaders from six public colleges and universities throughout Tennessee were collected in one-on-one personal interviews over a three-month period. Both presidents and chief academic officers from three universities and three community colleges were included in the study.

While the leaders concurred that accountability is an essential and premier policy within the higher education structure, there was a general dissatisfaction expressed with current accountability policies and programs. Findings revealed that almost all of the leaders interviewed were particularly discontented with the state performance funding program, heralded by many authors as an example of Tennessee’s pioneering efforts in the assessment and accountability arenas. Leaders also expressed concerns related to other accountability policies including program reviews, report cards, and specialty accreditation.

Recommendations for revision and revamping of several policies were shared by those interviewed. There was a general sense of optimism about ongoing work within the state related to new accountability policies and also related to upcoming regional accreditation changes.

Recommendations for further study are provided. This study was one of three concurrent studies designed to examine the perspectives of key stake holder groups within Tennessee.

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