Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Administration

Major Professor

E. Grady Bogue

Committee Members

Norma Mertz, William Snyder, Robert Cunningham


This in-depth, semi-structured interview study was undertaken to describe Tennessee corporate leaders’ perception of accountability in Tennessee higher education and of current accountability policies and/or programs. Answers to four research questions were sought:

1. What are Tennessee corporate leaders’ perceptions of the meaning of accountability in higher education?

2. What are Tennessee corporate leaders’ perceptions of current higher education accountability policies and/or programs?

3. What expectations do Tennessee corporate leaders have for accountability initiatives in higher education and what do they express as evidence of those initiatives?

4. To whom is higher education accountable as perceived by Tennessee corporate leaders?

The sources of information for this study included interviews with twelve corporate leaders in the private sector who were associated with Tennessee Tomorrow, Incorporated and observations of attitudes and actions relating to their perception of accountability issues in higher education.

Findings of the study included the need for accountability initiatives in higher education, meaningful partnership dialog, workforce readiness demands, thoughtful stewardship of resources, and enhance performance indicators. Through the study, a substantial lack of awareness was discovered among Tennessee corporate leaders of current accountability initiatives at the state and local levels.

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