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dc.contributor.authorHoran, Michael David
dc.description.abstractLiberal arts colleges today are faced with challenges such as a) declining number of students, b) acute financial situation, c) intensifying competition, and d) pressure to keep academic offerings updated. Furthermore, the recent recession stressed flaws in every learning institution’s business model forcing them to wrestle with the essential strategic questions that for decades have pitted academic and social commitments against financial realities, and do so while operating under significant stress. Given such problems, it is paramount to investigate how these colleges make effective strategic choices that would affect their institution’s current and future performance. This dissertation will chronicle and measure the effectiveness of the strategic choices that three liberal arts colleges made during the recession, from the end of 2004 to the end of 2011 and what variables affected those choices. The key questions are: What strategies were used to manage the effects of recession? What impact did leadership make? Were the outcomes different? If so, was this as a result of the strategy and/or the implementation? What lessons can be learned from this study that will provide guidance for leaders of other institutions? The three schools selected represent different perceived outcomes – Birmingham-Southern University, Greensboro College, and The University of the South: Sewanee. Each institution felt the same effects of the "Great Recession," which began in 2007, yet their resulting financial position and academic standings vary greatly. An understanding of their choices and outcomes during this critical period can be used to inform the strategic direction of other liberal arts colleges in the current and future economic climates. A case study methodology was utilized to analyze and document each school’s approach to their own strategic process and measure the outcomes of their choices. The necessary information was attained through gathering empirical data and through a structured interview process of key stakeholders at each institution. The “Endless Good Argument” is the ongoing discussion that happens between all stakeholders, particularly as stakeholders wrestle with strategic choices and attempt to predict financial outcomes.
dc.subjectStrategic Choice, Board Governance, Recession, Small Liberal Arts College
dc.titleThe endless good argument
dc.title.alternativestrategic choices by liberal arts colleges in America during “the Great Recession”
dc.description.departmentInstitute of Higher Education
dc.description.majorHigher Education
dc.description.advisorCharles Knapp
dc.description.committeeCharles Knapp
dc.description.committeeRobert K. Toutkoushian
dc.description.committeeErik C Ness

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