Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies

Committee Chair

Sebastian R. Diaz

Committee Co-Chair

Donna Breault

Committee Member

Paul Chapman

Committee Member

Sandra Eckard

Committee Member

Anne Nardi


As both internal and external threats continue to arise and challenge the traditional mold of higher education, the role of the university president is becoming more and more important. The position is being required to serve in an ever-growing number of capacities in addition to steering the direction of the institution. The purpose of the research study was to examine how presidents at a small, public four-year institution of higher education respond to organizational change. More specifically, my study attempted to discover if transformational leadership is present within the presidency during this era of great change that is affecting colleges and universities. I used case study methodology to define the parameters of the study, as well as qualitative description and the analysis of storytelling to gather my data. The methods of collecting data included formal interviews of three presidents of the institution, as well as three current faculty members who had served under those presidents (one faculty member from each of the university's three colleges). In addition, the use of institution's archives, presidential papers (including speeches and writings), and university publications allowed for layered interpretations and document analysis. I used the data to determine if elements of transformational leadership existed within each presidency, and if the organization experienced significant change. I argue that elements of transformational leadership were found within the presidency, but the use of these elements did not necessarily result in significant organizational change in all situations. I was unable to identify a relationship between transformational leadership and organizational change.