Date of Award

Summer 8-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Higher Education Leadership, Management, Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Eunyoung Kim, PhD

Committee Member

Joseph Stetar, PhD

Committee Member

Joseph Lee, PhD


Catholic, Higher education, Mission, Strategic Planning, Lasallian



The purpose of this study was to explore how administrators at a Lasallian sponsored Catholic university remain committed to institutional mission in its undergraduate education program at a time when external pressures require the institution to consider operational strategies that may run counter to its institutional ideals. To effectively investigate how key administrators balance institutional priorities within a specific context, I conducted a qualitative case study at Rheims University (pseudonym). Because the major focus of my study was to examine how administrators in senior level positions at this institution develop strategies designed to accomplish goals prioritized by the university and succinctly articulated the institution’s current strategic plan, I analyzed the way in which senior administrators worked with one another, both formally and informally, on a day-to-day, semester-to-semester, and year-to-year basis in an effort to achieve specific mission-related goals outlined in the university’s Strategic Plan. I also analyzed how these administrators navigated through tensions that arose with other senior level administrators throughout the university as they worked individually and collaboratively to accomplish common mission-related goals.

Based on analysis of data after coding, three major themes emerged as having the greatest impact on the Rheims’ administration’s ability to remain mission-centered while executing strategic-planning initiatives. The influence of finances on strategic decision making, philosophical differences between vice presidents and their managers on how to properly maintain institutional mission while executing strategic-planning initiatives, and divergence across campus when balancing mission and strategic-planning goals.

The major focus of this study was also to examine whether these administrators consciously used their awareness and knowledge of the university’s mission while attempting to accomplish departmental, divisional, and institutional goals.

The study offered insight into the influence of mission and its impact on strategic decision making at the university’s most senior administrative levels. The study also offered understanding into how the board of trustees assisted in the establishment of strategic-planning goals and how board members perceived a connection between mission and strategic planning.