Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

PhD Higher Education Leadership, Management, Policy

Department

Education Leadership, Management and Policy

Advisor

Martin Finkelstein, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Kelchen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joseph Stetar, Ph.D.

Keywords

institutional identity, part-time faculty, survey, brand equity, employee-based brand-equity model, mission integration

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine how religiously affiliated institutions of higher learning sponsored by congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States maintain their unique mission/identity at the same time as they transition to a largely part-time faculty. The study included 100 small colleges and universities. Data on mission integration initiatives was collected through document analysis and a survey of mission officers. Moreover, a survey of part-time faculty was undertaken to determine their knowledge about, modes of acquisition, and attitudes toward institutional identity.

The theoretical framework for this study is derived from marketing theories. To date, researchers employed the consumer-based brand equity model to study higher education, recognizing the students as customers. This study is one of the first that advances the employee-based brand-equity model (EBBE) in a field of higher education. According to the EBBE model, the employee factor has a sizeable potential of increasing the value of the brand. Traditionally, only implementing institutional values into taught courses has been examined in the field of education as a tangible input in strengthening institutional identity by the faculty. Utilizing the employee-based approach provides new aspects to the process of strengthening brand equity and offers new dimensions of brand endorsement and brand loyalty to be implemented by the personnel involved in supporting institutional mission/identity. In addition, relatively few studies have explicitly targeted part-time faculty members. This work aims to lessen that gap by distributing the survey to the part-time employees. Besides the mission/identity questionnaire, the survey reveals the demographics of part-time faculty delivering instruction at focal colleges and universities.

The analyses show the resulting disconnect between the observed shift to contingent staffing and the lack of adjustment of existing efforts to maintain institutional identity. The existing mission integration programs are based on an assumption of absorbing, interiorizing, and embodying intuitional values and traditions by full-time employees. The part-time faculty are not adequately served by the mission integration programs. At the same time, findings show that the part-time faculty score high in the brand endorsement category and implement institutional values in the courses they teach.

Based on statistical evidence, recommendations are offered to recognize the part-time faculty as potential agents of institutional mission/identity. The recommendations include adjusting existing mission integration practices, undertaking efforts to invite both full- and part-time faculty to share the ownership of institutional mission/identity, and creating a practical guide showing how to implement institutional values in all courses. Attempts to create such a guide imply modifications of the mission integration model, from the model based on interiorization, which has been developed for the full-time employees, to the operational model that can be efficiently applied in the age of part-time faculty.

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