Department of Educational Administration


Date of this Version


Document Type



Wayt, L.K. (2015). Pathways to student success: A multiple case study on four-year colleges' organizational change in performance funding states. (Doctoral dissertation). University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies (Educational Leadership and Higher Education), Under the Supervision of Professor Barbara Y. LaCost. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2015

Copyright (c) 2015 Lindsay K. Wayt


Federal and state policies have recently moved the higher education accountability focus from access to completion. As completion and other student success accountability measures are put in place, institutions are going through organizational change to accommodate these new policies and to adjust their focus onto student success measures such as retention and graduation rates. This multiple case study’s purpose was to describe the institutional efforts and changes at small- to medium-sized, four-year public institutions in states where at least 20% or more of state funds are or are planned to soon be allocated based on performance metrics. The findings of this study demonstrate the importance of organization planning, building organizational capacity for change, focusing on actions and changes that are efficient and effective, and refocusing on the culture of student success in teaching-focused institutions. Findings can be utilized by policymakers and higher education leaders at state and institution levels when considering or addressing the use of performance-based funding models and the effects that such policies have on public institutions of higher education.

Advisor: Barbara Y. LaCost