Date of Graduation
In 1989 the West Virginia Legislature established a bicameral governance system for the state's higher education institutions. The Board of Trustees governs the University System of West Virginia while the Board of Directors governs the State College System. They have general management and control over the financial and educational policies of all public institutions. The purpose of this study is to describe and analyze the perceived effectiveness of the bicameral system of governance in West Virginia public higher education during the first five years of its existence. Assessment involves a survey and analysis of perceptions of those individuals instrumental in the creation and operation of the statewide systems. The study progressed in phases. Phase I was designed to: (1) provide insight to the circumstances causing the structural reorganization; (2) identify the salient issues; and (3) identify strategic constituencies. Data was collected by literature review and ethnographic interviews. A survey questionnaire consisting of three sentence completion statements and sixty Likert-scaled items was developed and field tested. Phase II surveyed attitudes using two methods. Two hundred questionnaires were distributed to seven constituent categories. Ethnographic interviews were conducted with two informants selected from each constituency. Results indicate the bicameral system devotes more attention to the unique needs of diverse institutional missions, standardized performance requirements and monitoring, and increased operational efficiency. Participants believe two boards are not justified and recommend a single governing authority. The central staff serves two boards adequately, but does not provide a strategic planning function. Respondents indicated the Legislature intrudes into the affairs of higher education, and campus administrators require more flexibility to operate. The funding policy encourages parity among the state's colleges. Achievements in rural health care delivery systems have lessened the medical school controversy. The Office of the Secretary of Education and the Arts should be abolished unless appropriate powers and reporting relationships are better defined. The function is necessary, but the position is too personality dependent. The community college system remains a concern. The boards have not been effective advocates before the Legislature and in their communications to strategic constituencies. Essentially, the bicameral system works well, but does not justify two boards.
Cupelli, Richard Domenick, "Reform of higher education in West Virginia: A bicameral system of governance, 1989-1994." (1995). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8696.