Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Uldis Smidchens

Second Advisor

Dr. Patrick Jenlink

Third Advisor

Dr. Beverly Belson


The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent of strategic planning in Michigan community colleges and to determine what effect the planning had on selected climate factors. The data on strategic planning were collected using a questionnaire developed by this investigator and validated by a panel of 15 national experts. The presidents and the next-in-charge when it came to strategic planning at all 29 Michigan community colleges formed the population for the strategic planning aspects of the study. Administrators from 6 of the 27 responding colleges formed the population for the climate investigation. The Work Environment Scale (WES) questionnaire (Moos & Insel, 1974) was used to collect climate data.

Twenty-four of the 27 responding colleges (88.8%) were engaged in strategic planning. Most colleges used strategic planning for the first time within the last 4 to 5 years. The colleges mainly chose to engage in strategic planning to improve an already good situation.

The characteristics of strategic planning showing a strong presence were: mission identification, external analyses, and goal identification and achievement. Characteristic areas showing a weak presence were: consideration of alternatives, culture analysis, improved community understanding, adequate resource allocation for plan implementation, and improvement of financial conditions.

No relationship was found between the size of a community college based on full-time equated enrollments and the existence of strategic planning. There was also no relationship found between the wealth of a community college and the extent of strategic planning.

The major problem community colleges in this study had with the strategic planning was a lack of time for the process. The major benefit reported was that strategic planning provided clarification of directions for change.

The scores for selected climate factors of colleges scoring high on the extent of strategic planning were compared to colleges scoring low. The results showed that there was no support for a relationship between the extent of strategic planning and the climate scores for the factors of task orientation, clarity, and involvement. There was a direct relationship between the extent of strategic planning and the climate factors of innovation and autonomy.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access