Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies

Committee Chair

Richard A. Hartnett.


The literature on promotion and tenure in institutions of higher education includes a substantial amount of research on various aspects of faculty productivity. Yet other research concentrates on the organizational structure of higher education. In his 1986 book, Burton Clark called for research that would examine how what he called the enterprise (the local university as opposed to the statewide system) and departments within it interact in important arenas.;This dissertation takes up Clark's challenge to examine the interaction of enterprise and department in promotion and tenure in three areas: goals, structure and operations. Content analysis of faculty handbooks from 25 Research I, land-grant institutions revealed that most of those institutions (18 of them) can be classified as having a shared-governance authority structure (on the basis of the involvement of administrators and committees in the promotion and tenure process); three are collegial, four bureaucratic. Interviews with department chairs and chairs of promotion and tenure committees elicited information on how the department orchestrates promotion and tenure, how it interacts with disciplinary members outside of the enterprise, and how it interacts with the enterprise. Interviews with administrators in charge of personnel issues examined the goals of the enterprise with respect to promotion and tenure and how it operated to attain those goals.;Analysis of interview transcripts indicate that there is little effect of enterprise on department in the establishment of the department's authority structure for P&T evaluations. Neither is there much effect on the actual process. And, although the enterprise would like to perceive itself as setting criteria for evaluation of faculty, in fact the departments adhere to their own particularistic processes and structures, criteria and agendas. Those criteria, however, are not always the same within disciplines across enterprises. What does remain the same across all entities is the statement of goals that seek faculty who are of the highest quality, the most productive, the most promising, the best teachers, the most creative, and who have a sustainable and continuing research program.