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Analyzing Disruptive Innovation in U.S. Liberal Arts Higher Education Institutions

Ye, Huiyuan (2018) Analyzing Disruptive Innovation in U.S. Liberal Arts Higher Education Institutions. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Independent liberal arts colleges (LACs) are slowly disappearing from the landscape of U.S. higher education. Depletion of endowments, mission creep, and a stigma in institutional innovation are prominent factors that threaten this institutional legacy of higher education. On the other hand, LAC graduates are constantly sought after by employers as strong job candidates, suggesting that the LACs in the United States need an innovative approach to self-transformation. Propelled by technological advancement and based on the marketing principles of non-competition, job-to-be-done, and unbundling, Clayton Christensen’s Disruptive Innovation Theory (DI) has been adopted in the social sector for a few years. There is no evidence suggesting that the LACs are immune to the impact of DI and its examples (e.g., MOOC) that have already entered the higher education sector. The Disruptive Innovation Theory can be enriched by lending a transformational vision to a higher education sub-sector, but there is a glaring shortage of empirical research that aims at developing the two concepts through their marriage. This dissertation research employed a mixed method of online survey and semi-structured interview with senior administrators from 225 private "Baccalaureate Colleges - Arts & Sciences Focus" based on 2015 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The senior administrators are equivalents of chief academic officer, chief information officer, and chief financial officer from each institution. Conceptual awareness and existing models of disruptive innovation were analyzed and presented in this study.

Keywords: Liberal arts college; Disruptive innovation; Institutional innovation; Governance in higher education; Educational technology


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Ye, Huiyuanhuy10@pitt.eduhuy10
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairJacob, W. Jameswjjacob@memphis.eduwjacob
Committee MemberSutin, Stewart E.ssutin@pitt.edussutin
Committee MemberGunzenhauser, Michael G.mgunzen@pitt.edumgunzen
Committee MemberCohen, Susan K.suecohen@katz.pitt.edusuecohen
Date: 29 January 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 27 July 2017
Approval Date: 29 January 2018
Submission Date: 22 December 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 193
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Liberal Arts, Disruptive Innovation, Higher Education, Business Model, Online Education, Workforce Development
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2018 18:28
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2018 18:28


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