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ERIC Number: EJ1039150
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Aug
Pages: 30
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 87
ISSN: ISSN-0361-0365
Why Do Colleges become Universities? Mission Drift and the Enrollment Economy
Jaquette, Ozan
Research in Higher Education, v54 n5 p514-543 Aug 2013
This paper analyzes mission drift in baccalaureate colleges. "Becoming a university," defined as a change in organizational name (e.g., Aurora College becomes Aurora University), symbolizes the transition from a liberal arts mission to a comprehensive university mission. Mission drift is conceptualized as a form of "divergent change," which can be studied using institutional theory. This paper develops testable hypotheses about becoming a university by integrating institutional theory literatures on market factors, institutional factors, and network factors. Hypotheses are tested by applying panel methods to a 1972-2010 panel dataset of all private organizations defined as "liberal arts colleges" by the 1973 Carnegie Classification. Results show that colleges became universities in response to declining freshmen enrollments, prior adoption of curricula associated with the comprehensive university model, and when network contacts previously became universities. Organizational age and strong market position lowered the probability of becoming a university. The findings contribute to literatures on organizational change and mission drift. Given that most postsecondary institutions--both public and private--are increasingly tuition reliant, future research should analyze the adoption and the effects of behavioral changes designed to increase enrollment-related revenue.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A