School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy


Ellen Ziegler


case study, HBCU rankings, higher education, leadership styles, strategic planning, transformational leadership




The purpose of this single instrument case study was to explore the transformational leadership practices utilized by university leaders in the implementation of a strategic plan first executed in 2011 at Pride University, a pseudonym used for the setting of the study, a Historically Black College or University (HBCU). The central research question of this study was, “How were transformational leadership strategies utilized in the execution of the strategic plan implemented at Pride University?” Over the years, transformational leadership has been commonly embraced by organizations and has worked well for leaders and followers alike. Although there has been much research about transformational leadership practices in organizations using the business model, there has been little research regarding the usage of this model in higher education, particularly at an HBCU. This study focused on the transformational leadership practices applied during the implementation of the strategic plan and how they relate to the components of Bass’ transformational leadership theory and the methods of exemplary leadership practices identified by Kouzes and Posner. The strategic plan was designed to shape the strategic course of the university and propel the organization to a competitive position among its institutional peers. It reflects the vision of university stakeholders (board of trustees, administration, faculty/staff, students, alumni, and community partners) who collaborated to review the current state of the university, identify the needs, and set goals for the future. Multiple forms of data collection were completed to increase validity and produce triangulation: (1) semi-structured individual interviews with a sample size of 12-15 participants, (2) review of relevant documents, (3) and electronic surveys.

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