Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Higher Education Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Nathaniel Cradit


This case study, which included faculty and administrator interviews as well as an exploration of institutional documents and faculty meeting spaces, examined what influences a tenured faculty member’s decision to engage with assessment initiatives at Midwest Community College and what senior leaders can do to successfully engage tenured faculty in these efforts. Principal-agent theory (PAT) offers an important and helpful framework for considering how senior leadership can successfully engage tenured faculty in student learning outcomes assessment on this specific unionized community college campus. The findings of this study suggest that senior leaders must leverage both incentives and monitoring to successfully engage tenured faculty in institutional efforts to assess student learning outcomes. In addition to incentives and monitoring, the faculty and senior leaders in this case study spoke to the need for acknowledging the value of assessment work, demonstrating respect for faculty’s engagement in institutional assessment processes, and giving inherent meaning to what faculty do. The findings of this study have direct implications for collective bargaining agreements, tenure processes, hiring practices, and senior leaders’ own behavior towards and relationships with tenured faculty. Specific recommendations for action are provided, as well as implications for further research.