Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Higher and Adult Education


Higher Education

Committee Chair

Katrina A. Meyer

Committee Member

Jeffrey L. Wilson

Committee Member

Patricia A. Murrell

Committee Member

Beverly E. Cross


Accountability of higher education is a prevailing concern of state and federal governments. Six regional accreditation agencies provide one avenue of accountability. The purpose of this research is to determine how faculty members make meaning of the accreditation process. A deeper understanding of how faculty members make meaning of the experience will help higher education constituents to determine if changes in the process are necessary.The college included in this study is Ourown Community College (OCC). This college was selected based on having undergone a recent accreditation process. The faculty members who participated were chosen based on the following criteria: they were employed at OCC during the accreditation process and throughout this research. The research employed three sources of data. First, the faculty members in this study participated in three individual interviews. Second, two focus group discussions were held. Third, a document analysis of the final accreditation report by the regional accreditor of the college was performed. The first and second faculty interviews focused on questions that describe their perspective of the experience. The third faculty interview addressed gaps or inconsistencies in information from the first two interviews. The focus group discussions consisted of general questions about the accreditation experience. The document analysis of the final accreditation report focused on faculty comments and data in the report that further illuminate the faculty members’ understanding of the accreditation experience. Furthermore, this analysis completed triangulation and reinforced reliability of the study.The qualitative data collected were analyzed for their relationship to the research questions in this study. The data were analyzed for common themes, significant differences, and descriptive quotes that embody the inner thoughts of the participants. Five themes became significant. Faculty made meaning of the accreditation process based on feeling: befuddled and bewildered; disconcerted and disoriented; disconnected and detached; unfamiliar and unidentified; and the desire for collegiality and collaboration. The faculty stories revealed that when faculty are informed about the process by those whom they feel most comfortable and familiar in settings where they do not feel threatened, they gain more knowledge about the process.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

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