Examination of decision-making processes for resource allocation at the college-level and school-level within an academic unit

Amy L Childress, Purdue University


The purpose of this study was to examine the quantitative and qualitative factors used when deciding how to allocate resources within a single academic unit and three subunits, and who was involved in those decision-making processes. It focused on the College of Engineering and three Schools of Engineering at Purdue University from 2000 – 2007, when Dr. Martin C. Jischke was president. The university underwent institution-wide strategic planning and increased use of metrics in decision-making under his leadership. Financial data from the college and three schools were collected and analyzed. An interview protocol was developed and piloted before implementation in interviews with nine administrators from three levels at the institution: university, college, and school. These participants all had some degree of involvement in the resource allocation processes affecting either the college or one of the three schools. The research was designed as an embedded case study and incorporated qualitative and quantitative data; systems theory provided the framework and grounded theory guided the analysis. The results suggest that the role of strategic plan development and enactment served to address the issue of shared governance. The administrators' efforts to involve stakeholders led to changes in perceived ownership in various places within the College of Engineering. The university's increased focus on interdisciplinary research, furthermore, encouraged new research collaborations across school and college boundaries. Suggestions for implementation include establishing and communicating a decision-making framework to improve stakeholders' understanding of this process, conducting regular reviews of existing programs to improve efficiency, and increasing interdisciplinary collaborations.




Knupfer, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Education finance|Higher Education Administration|Educational leadership|Higher education

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