Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Fred J. Galloway, EdD, Chair; Lea A. Hubbard, PhD, Member; Carole Huston, PhD, Member


California State University System, evaluation, multiple-site evaluation, provosts, school administrators, student learning assessment, supportive organizational culture, Total Quality Management


Although research on cultivating support for student learning assessment at the institutional level points to the necessary involvement of all campus stakeholders, researchers have commented on the particularly important role of institutional administrators. Most research on the role of administrators in building support for assessment to date has not, however, focused on provosts, even though they are critical because of their power to determine the internal allocation of institutional resources. To address this issue, this study used a 27-question, Likert-scale survey to estimate the extent to which provosts in the California State University system have been successful in building an assessment-supportive organizational culture on their respective campuses. All presidents, provosts, associate provosts, deans, and associate deans in the 23-campus system were surveyed using eight Total Quality Management constructs. Based on the opinions of the 195 administrators that responded, provosts within the system were found to be more effective than not with an overall score of slightly more than seven on a ten-point scale (with ten as “very effective”). Provosts were rated as most effective in terms of “shared vision” and “involvement” and least effective in terms of “quality at the same cost” and “collaboration”, although the average scores on all eight of the constructs were fairly tightly bunched. In addition, multivariate analysis revealed that two measures of institutional size, total enrollment and the number of academic affairs administrators, as well as provostial tenure and percent of graduate students were helpful in explaining variation in overall effectiveness; in particular, higher enrollments were associated with greater effectiveness. Beyond its significance at the institutional and university system levels, this study was important in that it explored the extent to which the collegiate student assessment movement has been institutionalized. However, the study's grounding in Total Quality Management was questioned by many respondents; further research might consider a different theoretical approach. Examining perceptions among different strata of academic affairs administrators could assist in this endeavor. Finally, future researchers might examine other large public university systems to begin painting a national picture of the effectiveness of provosts in building a student learning assessment-supportive culture.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies