Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




James M. Yankovich


This historical case study of Bank Street College of Education examines the organizational arrangement of an independent professional school as an alternative to standard college/university-based schools of education. Bank Street College of Education claims to be a school with a clear, purposeful mission that is organized in a free-standing arrangement. This study tests the efficacy of that claim by looking at five criteria for schools of education: clear mission, strong leadership, consonant external relations, mission-supported research, and strong structure; over five periods of time.;Using Burton Clark's (1971) theory of organizational saga and Grant and Riesman's (1978) notion that an organization uses its distinctiveness to generate necessary resources, Bank Street College was examined to see if and how it has maintained a distinctive mission.;It was discovered that Bank Street has a strong, operable institutional saga supported by the charismatic leadership of the founding leader, Lucy Sprague Mitchell. It was also found that environmental congruence has strengthened the philosophical mission of the College, but has diffused the operationality of the mission. Although Bank Street offers an interesting alternative to standard college/university-based schools of education, its dependence on external funding makes its mission vulnerable to dilution.;Further research is needed to investigate the environmental vulnerability of mission-specific organizations.



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