Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




John R. Thelin


The purposes of this qualitative study were to investigate the transformation of Madison College, a small Virginia women's state teachers college, into James Madison University, a nationally recognized coeducational, comprehensive university, and to examine the effect of President Ronald E. Carrier's charismatic leadership on the transformation. This metamorphosis took place in just twelve years.;The Strategic Planning Model developed by Kotler and Fox in Strategic Marketing for Educational Institutions (1985) was used as a framework to evaluate the strategic plans used by Madison's administrators to change the institution's image. Criteria for charismatic leadership espoused by Burton Clark in The Distinctive College (1970) were used to assess Dr. Carrier's leadership style.;One emphasis of this study was to determine if a formal marketing plan was used to change the college's image. Research confirmed that formal marketing efforts in higher education were virtually unknown in the early 1970s, the time of Madison College's transformation. Strategic plans were used, however, in relation to increasing both the total enrollment and the percentage of male students, creating a men's intercollegiate athletic program, improving and adding academic programs, and expanding the physical plant.;Findings confirm the importance of well-planned strategies for educational institutions attempting to change their images. Additionally, the impact of charismatic leadership as a catalyst for change cannot be overemphasized. A third finding is that a strong institutional saga is critical in helping the revised image to be validated among the institution's publics. "Synergy" is the most appropriate term to describe how the elements coalesced in the successful transformation of Madison College into James Madison University.;A study of this nature confirms the efficacy of the data-gathering techniques indiginous to qualitative research methods and adds to the growing body of qualitative research being conducted both in education and in marketing case studies. Further research efforts should be undertaken about individual institutions so that more broad-based conclusions can be drawn.



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