Navigating and Utilizing Values during Change Processes at Catholic Colleges and Universities

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Scott Flanagan, Ed.D.

Abstract

Catholic colleges and universities (CCUs), particularly those of moderate selectivity, are especially vulnerable to changes in the external environment. In addition to external forces, values from the academic tradition as well as those from an institution’s Catholic heritage contribute to change efforts at CCUs. This study uses the lens of general education revision at two Catholic universities to show how leaders and members of sponsoring organizations can effectively navigate these value sets. It reveals that the values of the sponsoring organization can be essential touchstones for organizational change, particularly when members of the organization express their values clearly and seek validation that those values are meaningfully utilized, and that conflicts among values emerging from the academy are more prevalent than those between sponsors’ values and academic values. The study concludes with practical recommendations for members of sponsoring organizations and senior leaders at Catholic colleges and universities.

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Author Biography

Scott Flanagan, Ed.D., Edgewood College

Scott Flanagan is Executive Vice President, Edgewood College, Madison, WI.