ERIC Number: EJ956218
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Reference Count: 6
Case Study of Reinvention: College of Charleston
Brown, Alice W.
New Directions for Higher Education, n156 p41-47 Win 2011
Colleges survive sometimes because they are able to merge with another institution (a for-profit company, another private college, a state university). The change at the College of Charleston was shaped in the 1970s, when the college did not "merge" with a state institution--it "became" a state institution, which grew.. and grew. When Captain Theodore S. Stern retired from the Navy and became president of a small private college in Charleston, he quickly realized that the college was facing difficult odds. Debt was growing, enrollment was falling, and soon after he was appointed, he learned that the state was considering building a major university near his campus. Although Stern was able to slow the decline of the institution with a number of relatively small changes, such as reorganizing the administration, convincing the city and county to help financially, and adding new majors, it was his ability to convince the state to make his college a state university that moved the institution from its status as a small private college with roughly five hundred students to a major university with over five thousand students when Stern retired in 1979. The changes that took a small college from struggling to thriving reflect a model not likely to be replicated. While some states continue to build community colleges and technical schools, none appear to be planning to add a major new public university. No one can tell the story of the College of Charleston better than Stern, who served as president during the years of transformation. His autobiography, "No Problems, Only Challenges," devotes two chapters to the years 1968 to 1970, when the small private college became a comprehensive university in the South Carolina higher education system. The information in this article is heavily dependent on that source, as well as on an interview with Stern on September 14, 2009.
Descriptors: Small Colleges, Private Colleges, Autobiographies, College Presidents, Case Studies, Change Strategies, Educational Change, Organizational Change, Institutional Survival, Educational History, Educational Development, College Administration, Content Analysis, Phenomenology, College Planning, Strategic Planning
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Carolina