Innovation in postsecondary education has become an important element of the landscape in order for institutions to remain competitive and, for some, as a means to survive (Selingo, 2013, p. 58). Small colleges and universities have experienced a more significant impact than most higher education institutions in attempting to remain competitive and promote innovation as they continue to deal with the aftermath of the 2001 and 2008 recessions and keep pace with the challenges of enrollment and finance. If small colleges are faced with the inability to create new and innovative delivery and business models, there is a danger that many of these small colleges will cease to exist (Crow, 2010; Rivard, 2013).
The primary purpose of this study was to explore how two small colleges adopted innovative strategies that maintained or improved their fiscal strength during a time when most small colleges were experiencing financial decline. How these innovative cultures have been supported at these small colleges, and their relation to the strategies employed, is also explored in this study. The overarching research question for this study was, “To what extent can small colleges develop a culture that supports innovation and positively influences the financial stability of the institutions?
The findings of this study include innovative strategies used at each institution to impact fiscal strength, and elements that have been established to support a culture of innovation in addition to the way in which innovation has improved the student experience. Ultimately, the examples of innovative strategies implemented at these institutions, such as responding to student and market demands, having an innovative mission and vision and ensuring innovative individuals are leading the institution, could turn into sustainable solutions for other small colleges that may be struggling with student enrollment and revenue decline. The elements of innovative cultures that were discovered in this study could be used as a “best practices” list for other small colleges in their quest to develop and sustain an innovative culture.
|Commitee:||Garland, Peter H., Wratcher, Marcia A.|
|School:||University of Pennsylvania|
|Department:||Higher Education Management|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-A 77/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, School administration, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Culture of innovation, Fiscal strength, Innovative strategies, Promoting innovation, Small college survival|
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