Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

December 1996


The purpose of this study was to identify issues that are considered important to the legislators and higher education leaders of Tennessee in making decisions that affect the funding of higher education. A further purpose was to identify actions that such individuals believe should be taken by higher education leaders to ensure that higher education is accountable and worthy of continued or increased financial support. Using a qualitative research design, interviews were held with 10 legislators and 6 higher education leaders selected in accordance with the concept of purposeful sampling. Legislative participants included five members from the Senate and five members from the House of Representatives. All participants served on either the Education Committee or Finance Ways and Means Committee within their chamber. Higher education leaders consisted of a university president, the President of the University of Tennessee System, Chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents, Executive Director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, Comptroller of the Treasury, and a member of the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees. Issues identified from the interviews were reduced to eight categories: (a) issues affecting higher education and (b) findings regarding the accountability of higher education. The issues category was divided into eight categories: (a) financial issues that was further subdivided into funding issues, accountability issues, capital expenditures, taxes, fees, and other general financial issues; (b) administrative structure and costs; (c) quality outcomes; (d) faculty issues; (e) technology; (f) program duplication; (g) relationship to K-12 education; and (h) other general issues. Issues that emerged related to accountability included the measurement of educational outcomes and the communication of those results to legislators and the public. Based on the findings of this study, three recommendations are offered: (1) a committee consisting of appropriate representatives should be established to study the issue of accountability and determine appropriate measurements that will provide relevant information; (2) leaders in higher education should make a concerted effort to improve communication with legislators and their staffs; and (3) those in higher education must improve their communication with the public.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted