Department of Educational Administration


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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 Administration (Educational Leadership and Higher Education), Under the supervision of Professor James O' Hanlon. Lincoln, Nebraska: August 2010
Copyright 2010 Steven Riccio


This research focused on identifying a series of successful practices relating to administrative talent management within the higher education setting. The field study included a thorough examination of seven small to mid-size private colleges and universities that have incorporated employee development strategies. These strategies were aimed at growing future leaders from within the organization in order to achieve continuity and support institutional priorities. Specifically, several focus areas were investigated including presidential vision, leadership commitment, talent management’s place among institutional priorities, program characteristics, and program evaluation.

Among the commonalities that were gathered included support at the senior officer level who serve as advocates, mentors, and program facilitators, a strong connection between talent management and the institutions’ strategic plans, and a holistic approach to developing talent at all levels of the organizations. In addition, both coaching and opportunities for growth in the work environment were evident within several of the institutions. Also, academic leadership development was considered to be a part of the talent management strategy within three of the colleges and universities.

The key differentiators included the incorporation of organizational and leadership competencies to provide focus toward the performance development process at two institutions, the implementation of a succession planning model at another institution, and the location of human resource generalists in departments across two of the institutions to identify learning opportunities for both individuals and work teams.

Based on both the findings from the field study and the literature review, a comprehensive procedural model is introduced that serves to support human resource departments and higher education professionals, in general, who are looking to either begin or broaden their own talent management approach. However, despite the progress that has been made across several institutions noted throughout the research study, much more must be learned in terms of how the time and resources invested in talent management translates to institutional success.

Advisor: James O‘Hanlon