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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The accreditation-related self-study and its potential for organizational learning: A comparative case study
by Olson, Aaron Edward, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2016, 128; 10158535
Abstract (Summary)

Regional accreditation’s major component, the institutional self-study, is a significant learning opportunity for universities that are often too large and complex for any one individual to have a complete picture of its present or future. The self-study is a resource-intensive endeavor with great investigative utility beyond satisfying the requirements of the accrediting body, and yet the systems put in place to conduct it are often discarded and rebuilt from scratch every decennial review. Senge’s Learning Organization model for understanding and fnbuilding organizational learning potential, especially its focus on double-loop learning, suggests that using a self-study as a jumping-off point (as opposed to a hurdle) could provide immediate and long-term benefits to an institution.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the individual and organizational effects of the preparation of a regional accreditation-related self-study at two large research universities. Qualitative case study methods were used for within- and cross-case analysis. Findings centered on how a hierarchical flow of information and a completion-oriented mindset can constrict learning to the scope of the assigned tasks and reduce the potential for continuation of the learning started by the process. This results in a dilemma: either universities should simply satisfy the requirements put forward by accreditors with minimum expenditure of resources, or purposefully approach the self-study as a starting point for an ongoing and self-sustaining change process.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hartley, Matthew
Commitee: Fogarty, Ellie, Harper, Shaun R.
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Higher Education
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 78/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration, Higher education
Keywords: Accreditation, Case study, Organizational learning
Publication Number: 10158535
ISBN: 978-1-369-13543-5
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