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ERIC Number: ED530314
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 221
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1095-7072-4
Organizational Collaboration in Liberal Arts Colleges: Examining Structure, Culture, and Agency
Salguero, Claudia F.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Boston
Compelling evidence suggests that collaborative practices may enable higher education institutions to respond more effectively to changes in the external environment and implement more readily innovations in teaching and learning. However, historical practices, cultural values, and structural characteristics of higher education institutions are often obstacles to collaboration. Research is needed to identify organizational factors that promote the development and sustainability of collaborations. This study focuses on internal collaboration in liberal arts colleges. This sector of higher education is known for its holistic approach to teaching and learning. Given the focus on educating the whole student, liberal arts colleges may need to operate with high levels of internal collaboration in order to fulfill their missions. To understand and explain internal collaboration in liberal arts colleges, this study provides an analysis of the reciprocal interaction of organizational structures, acts of individual and collective agency, and organizational culture. This multi-site case study uncovered evidence of how interactions among structure, agency, and culture can develop and sustain institution-wide collaboration. This study found that integrative structures, such as teaching and learning centers, campus-wide committees, and student-faculty research programs, can engender integration of complementary ideas and knowledge, while fostering a cohesive curricular and co-curricular education. Faculty agency and shared leadership were also critical components of collaboration, which empowered organizational members to take action and work collaboratively. Supportive organizational culture values included being student-centered, focusing on educating the whole student, emphasizing campus and community engagement, and fostering high levels of trust. The study concludes with practical strategies for senior administrators, faculty members, and student affairs professionals who are interested in building a collaborative campus. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A