Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Center for the Advancement of Education


The American Association of Bible Colleges (AABC) is the official accrediting agency for undergraduate Bible college education as recognized by the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation (COPA). As such, it is concerned with the establishment and monitoring of educational and professional standards within its present membership of ninety Bible colleges. One present area of concern is the need for continued development of formal, comprehensive planning among Bible colleges, many of which face uncertain futures. The focus of this investigation was on the strategic planning practices among AABC accredited institutions. Strategic planning is a departure from traditional long-range planning in that it concentrates on achieving and maintaining a strategic fit with a changing environment through the development and implementation of a product (programs) /market approach to institutional planning. The purpose of this major applied research project (MARP) was to assess the present status of strategic planning within the AABC. The following research questions were formulated to guide the research: 1. What is the present level of awareness among Bible college leaders of strategic planning practices in higher education? 2. What is the present status of formalized strategic planning among institutions accredited by the AABC? 3. To what extent are the essential elements of strategic planning being practiced through other formalized long-range institutional planning efforts? The research design was an organizational assessment case study. This study was not concerned with the characteristics or evaluations of individual institutions but was concerned with presenting institutional data for the purpose of viewing the overall organizational reality regarding the research problem. The information gathering component of the case study was accomplished through the development and implementation of the Institutional Strategic Planning Assessment Questionnaire (ISPAQ). The research instrument was based on accepted standards of educational strategic planning put forth in the literature. The strategic planning content and methodology component of the ISPAQ was based on the six strategic planning steps identified by Kotler and Murphy (1981). These were: (1) Environmental Analysis, (2) Resource Analysis, (3) Goal Formulation, (4) Strategy Formulation, (5) Organization Design, and (6) Systems Design. The research population consisted of the ninety member institutions of the AABC that held full accredited status as of January 1, 1989. The research instrument was directed towards the presidents of the Bible colleges included in the research population. The Total Design Method (Dillman, 1978) was used extensively in the development and implementation of the ISPAQ which resulted in a return rate of sixty-eight percent. Sixty-one institutional presidents participated in the research by filling out and returning the completed questionnaires. As a result of this case study the following conclusions were reached: 1. Strategic planning, as defined by the literature was not practiced to any significant degree in forty institutions (60%) responding to the ISPAQ. 2. Strategic planning, as defined by the literature, is generally not practiced as a part or component of existing long-range institutional planning structures. Although strategies can be and were developed through these structures, most institutions remained unsensitized to environments, major trends, product/market opportunities, and did not possess the information and control systems necessary to achieve and maintain a strategic institutional posture. 3. Strategic planning, as defined by the literature, has had a beginning in the AABC to varying degrees at a limited number of institutions. It was found that further sophistication and development was needed in terms of environmental analysis, strategy formulation, organization analysis, strategy formulation, organization design and marketing and control systems design. AABC institutions generally lacked the planning culture, discipline and systems necessary to maintain a dynamic strategic planning process. A major commitment to the importance and necessity of consistent, accurate and comprehensive market-related research is needed on a wide scale as a pre-requisite for new and continued attempts at strategic planning.

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