Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Higher and Adult Education


Higher Education

Committee Chair

Katrina A. Meyer

Committee Member

Patricia J. Murrell

Committee Member

Jeffery L. Wilson


The purpose of this study is to provide administrators of liberal arts colleges with information that helps them improve their institutions’ ability to graduate students. It investigates the relationship between IT and the efficiency of 35 highly ranked liberal arts colleges in graduating students. The study uses an operations research theory known as the resource-based view of the firm. Efficiency is based on the institutions’ performance in graduating students relative to the resources available to them. A technical efficiency score obtained from data envelopment analysis is used as the dependent variable in a multiple regression. The output in the data envelopment analysis is graduation rates. The inputs are cost per undergraduate, percent of faculty who are full-time, percent of entering students in the top 10% of their high school class, and the 25th percentile SAT score of the entering students. Independent variables in the regression are 14 measures of information technology management selected from a secondary data source. An interrelationship digraph is used to analyze the literature on information technology management in higher education, leading to the identification of five primary themes: governance, investment, centralization, security, and alignment. The 14 measures were selected as proxies for these concepts and then entered in the order from drivers to effects. Fall enrollment was used as a control variable. A regression model including fall enrollment and governance variables was significant. The only significant variable was the rank of the top IT officer, which had a negative coefficient. The model explained 13% of variance in efficiency of graduating students. The conclusion is that our ability to graduate students is impacted, though admittedly only moderately, by the choices we make in governing information technology at top liberal arts colleges. In these settings, having a top IT officer who is closer to the operational details appears to be more efficient than a high ranking top IT officer who has a broader view of the institution. Recommendations for administrators of these schools are provided. Future research directions are enumerated.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.