Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Barbara Burch (Director), Dr. Ric Keaster, Dr. Tuesdi Helbig

Degree Program

Educational Leadership Doctoral Program

Degree Type

Doctor of Education


Kentucky is well known for its education reform efforts; the Kentucky Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997 ushered in an era of intense focus on higher education in the Commonwealth. Specific and measureable goals for each sector of the state’s higher education institutions were included in the legislation; however, goals set for the comprehensive universities were less well-defined than those for both the research institutions and the community and technical colleges. Through an analysis of changes in capacity and mission, this study identified the ensuing contributions of Kentucky’s six comprehensive universities as they addressed the goals of the landmark reform. Resource dependence theory provided the study’s framework and helped to interpret the results. Each of the comprehensive institutions met the defined goals of the reform by housing at least one nationally recognized program. These universities also experienced mission change in response to the shift in their environment as evidenced by increased enrollment and award of degrees to students from inside the state and a higher percentage increase from outside Kentucky. Further supporting mission change was the increased number of approved baccalaureate and master’s degree and certificate programs.


Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Higher Education Administration