Educational Administration, Department of


First Advisor

Brent Cejda

Date of this Version



Gregory, C. V. (2017). An Instrumental Case Study of Administrative Smart Practices for Fully Online Programs and Degrees (Doctoral dissertation, The University of Nebraska - Lincoln).


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 Education, Major: Educational Studies (Educational Leadership and Higher Education), Under the Supervision of Professor Brent Cejda. Lincoln, Nebraska: April, 2017

Copyright (c) 2017 Charles V. Gregory


The purpose of this instrumental case study was to explore administrators’ responses to significant administrative challenges of fully online programs and degrees. The case was a single public community college located in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System Plains Region. In this study Bardach’s (1994) method to identify and extrapolate smart practices used to resolve administrative challenges arising from an institution’s online and distance education programming. The concept of smart practice aims to exploit or take advantage of some latent opportunity for creating value. Organizational culture was identified to be of significant influence in identifying the value the institution placed on a practice, action, activity, or approach to resolving an issue, therefore, directly affecting the value qualifiers for smart practices identified. Four smart practices were identified: (a) adequate student services for eLearning students; (b) adequate assessment of eLearning classes; (c) addressing accessibility and universal design; and (d) support staff needed for training and technical assistance. Also of significance five themes were identified: (a) adaptation; (b) collaboration; (c) creativity; (d) technology leveraging; and (e) budget. The themes provided an expanded understanding of PCC’s organizational culture to more fully characterize the smart practices. Utilizing Bardach’s (1994) method has reasonable probability to aid higher education institutions in the search for solutions to administrative challenges affiliated with online programs and degrees.

Advisor: Brent Cejda