Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




This study was directed toward the discovery of a grounded theory that identifies the conditions and processes which facilitate effective implementation of federal mandates in institutions of higher education. The constant comparative method, an inductive approach to generating theory, was used to study the implementation of Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972 and the accompanying regulations and policy interpretations for elimination of sex discrimination in athletics.;The research population included public colleges and universities in Virginia. From this population, a sample of four comparison groups (institutions) was selected through application of a mathematical formula which defined each institution in terms of a numerical Change Index. The Change Index formula measured the degree of progress toward Title IX compliance in athletics at each institution over a five year period, 1974 - 1979. In-depth investigations at each of the four colleges focused on the discovery, development and verification of theory.;The design of the study included three phases of research. Each phase employed different data gathering techniques, and each had its own purpose for obtaining various types of data. In Phase I, an informal telephone interview was used for defining the population. Phase II consisted of telephone interviews for collecting data necessary for delimiting the sample and for examining preliminary findings. Personal interviews at four sample institutions provided the primary source of data in Phase III. These open-ended interviews were used to guide data collection and analysis throughout the investigative process.;A theory of prescribed academic change was developed which expands on existing models of educational change. The theory specifically addresses federal mandates and identifies conditions which facilitate the implementation process. In brief, the implementation of mandated change occurs in four consecutive stages: (1) Infusion; (2) Preparation and Policy Formation; (3) Trial and Transition; and (4) Policy Execution. The rate and degree of institutional progress through the four stages are dependent upon three major categories of variables, including: (1) Administrative Organization; (2) Attributes of Key Personnel; and (3) Intervention. A complex and multi-directional set of relationships exists between stages and categories and among the variables within each category. When the combination and influence of the three major variables within an institution facilitate progress through the four stages of implementation, a mandate will be implemented effectively.;The theory of prescribed academic change views implementation of federal mandates as occurring through both planned and unplanned processes. The conclusions regarding the means by which administrative leaders exert power to influence institutional response to a mandate, the description and explanation of the change process in terms of institutional sub-systems, and the role of organizational politics are unique to the theory. Further, the identification of intervention as a precipitant to the effective implementation of prescribed change is critical in explaining why mandates are implemented effectively in some institutions and not in others.



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