Department of Educational Administration


Date of this Version

Summer 2004


Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Volume VII, NumberII, Summer 2004 State University of West Georgia, Distance Education Center


What issues do distance education (DE) leaders believe will influence the future of DE? What are their colleges’ DE strategies? This qualitative study compares DE strategic thinking and strategic choices at three community colleges. Two propositions are investigated: (1) each college’s DE leaders use common strategic mental models (ways of thinking about key environmental issues and relationships), and (2) DE leaders from the three colleges employ common industry-level strategic mental models. The major findings are: (1) strategic beliefs are more varied than expected; (2) strategic choices address common DE issues but are tailored to local contexts; and (3) leaders’ beliefs and college strategic choices are aligned.