Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




The purpose of this study was to identify, analyze, and interpret relationships among the views of the role of the Board of Visitors of the senior public colleges and universities held by leading decision makers in higher education in Virginia--visitors, presidents, legislators, members and staff professionals of the statewide coordinating agency, and other State executives and staff professionals whose work directly affected higher education.;This study was exploratory, ex post facto, survey research using a mail questionnaire to determine the relative incidence and distribution of the views of the visitor's role. Relationships were also investigated between these views and certain other variables associated with the respondents' positions relative to higher education and their personal attributes. of the 385 questionnaires mailed 254 usable questionnaires, or 66 percent, were returned.;It was concluded generally that visitors were typical of higher educational governing board members nationwide; they were expected by most respondents to exercise authority in governing every aspect of their institutions and retain control over all types of decisions affecting campus policy either directly or through authority exercised by faculty, students, or external agencies; and the variations among the respondents' views of the visitor's role were related to their positions, the influence of their different orientations toward external constituencies, the particular aspect of the role they were considering, and certain of their personal attributes.;Notable among the 20 specific conclusions from the study were: (a) visitors were more likely than other respondents to ascribe authority to their own role; (b) visitors were more likely to oppose having their position of authority by-passed than other respondents who could participate in the by-pass; (c) Boards of Visitors were said to be more strongly obligated toward faculty and students by presidents, who dealt more directly with the faculty and students, than by the other respondents; and (d) respondents who indicated a more favorable attitude toward academic freedom and/or who had completed a higher level of education indicated a more favorable attitude toward having Boards of Visitors share authority with campus groups.



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