Volume 22, Issue 3

Strategic Planning in Public Higher Education:  Management Tool or Publicity Platform?

By Gus Gordon and Mary Fischer

This study extends previous research through analysis of strategic plans of eight universities in a state system to determine if the strategic planning process and the plans meet basic strategic planning precepts. Additionally, one of the universities’ plans is more deeply investigated for further insight into the quality of the process and the plan. Our conclusions are consistent with those of previous research that strategic planning is not utilized in higher education to its fullest benefit in accordance with strategic planning concepts or in a manner designed to aid continuous improvement. The weakest link in the plans studied involves a consistent lack of review and analysis that could be used to improve future performance. In fact, we conclude that strategic planning in higher education appears to be serving a purpose other than a management technique designed to guide administrators in directing their organizations to become more effective and efficient. We further conclude that the strategic planning document is considered the end and not the means of an improvement strategy. Our research points to management motivations grounded more in external influence and/or to simply comply with accreditation checklists. Results of our study shed light on how administrators, legislators and state regulatory agencies can improve strategic planning in public higher education.

The Equity-Quality Dilemma of Higher Education Expansion:  A Goal-oriented Planning Approach for Maintaining High Quality Standards in Ethiopia

By Demissie L. Karorsa and Walter S. Polka

Ethiopia, the second most populous country in Africa, has embarked on an aggressive mission to expand higher education opportunities for its populace during the past two decades. However, associated with this aggressive approach to increasing higher education opportunities is the dilemma that educational planners face of improving the quality of the higher education system while the expansion is occurring. The major higher education strategic planning issues related with resolving this dilemma are analyzed in this article and recommendations for a more efficient and effective approach to improving higher education in Ethiopia as well as in other countries is presented.

Planning for Church and State Educational Leaders’ Partnerships in Ghana:  An Examination of Perceptions Impacting Relationships

By Augustine Matthew Ayaga

Education is a means to unlocking human potential for social, economic, and religious advancement. The Catholic Church and government in Ghana have had a long-standing partnership for the promotion of education at the pre-tertiary levels. The partnerships between religious bodies and the government dates back to the British colonial period, and is enshrined in the Education Acts of 1961 and 2008 of post-colonial governments. The partnerships have gone sour with accusations and counter accusations from both sides as Church and government policy makers as well as frontline educational leaders blame each other for the rapid decline in discipline in Church schools and poor student performance. Poor monitoring and supervision of schools by educational leaders is reported to be responsible for poor teaching and learning. Weak institutional collaboration between Church and government as well as role conflicts accounts for poor monitoring and supervision that negatively impact on schools. Using a convergent parallel mixed methods methodology, the researcher sought to understand educational leaders’ perceptions of their attitudes, skills, and behaviors in the partnership. Quantitative and qualitative data on demographics as well as partnership attributes regarding competence, skills, and behavior of educational leaders were collected and analyzed for differences, relationships, and meaning. The main findings include significant interaction effects of demographic variables on perceptions. Education as a demographic variable, along with competence, and social skills were statistically significant predictors of individual behaviors in partnerships. The quantitative findings were correlated with the qualitative results and the findings have implications for leadership in pre-tertiary education. Policy makers associated with both Church and government relationships in pre-tertiary education should review policies on their respective partnerships and focus on the training of educational leaders in strategic planning to improve partnerships in order to improve education.