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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Presidential Decision-Making at the Prostestant Evangelical Christian College When Religious Values and Mission Are at Issue and Survival is in Question
by Haines, Paul Lowell, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2017, 171; 10598971
Abstract (Summary)

Like most presidents of private, residential, 4-year, liberal arts colleges, the presidents of Protestant Evangelical Christian colleges face an increasing number of institutional challenges, many of which threaten institutional survival. Added to their burden, however, are the unique challenges of navigating an increasing number of values and missional conflicts that arise when cultural norms and related legal authority change rapidly and in a manner that is inconsistent with their deeply held religious beliefs and those of their institutions. These cultural and legal changes present challenges to Protestant Evangelical Christian college presidents and to their personal and institutional convictions in ways that have not been experienced previously.

This study examines the thinking and decision-making of ten Protestant Evangelical Christian college presidents who are faced with these challenges. Specifically, this study asks, how has the Protestant Evangelical Christian college leader navigated the values conflicts that arise when religious beliefs and institutional mission are deemed to be inconsistent with evolving cultural norms and legal authority? Using data from one-on-one interviews with ten Christian college presidents, and institutional documents from their respective institutions, this study found that these presidents (1) stay true to personal religious faith; (2) focus on and remain committed to institutional mission which, in all cases, aligned with their own personal convictions; and (3) implement a variety of operating strategies, both offensive and defensive, to address the challenges confronting them today.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Armacost, Mary-Linda
Commitee: Gyertson, David J., Hartley, J. Matthew
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Higher Education Management
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 79/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration, Religious education, Higher education
Keywords: Christian college, Christian higher education, Crisis, Decision-making, Leadership
Publication Number: 10598971
ISBN: 978-0-355-21890-9
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