Term of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


College of Education

Committee Chair

Daniel Calhoun

Committee Member 1

Steven Tolman

Committee Member 2

Antonio P. Gutierrez de Blume


With higher education eyeing a decreasing enrollment cliff slated to impact recruitment of graduating seniors around the year 2026, perception of the need for a college degree being lower than ever, and now following a global pandemic that has caused significant disruption to student learning, universities are being forced to evaluate options to support their students, increase their viability while reducing costs and streamlining efficiencies. For information technology departments, this is a challenge but could assist in helping address budget issues, while also elevating IT to be seen as a strategic partner. The purpose of this quantitative study was to correlate the perception of IT as a strategic entity and three staffing models as well as measure the effectiveness of the model as it relates to IT budget, innovation, and operational efficiency in midsized higher education institutions within all 50 of the United States. With IT units becoming more than the transactional tools they were once thought of, the study sought to understand if those models assisted with the change of perception of IT from that of a transactional unit to a transformational, strategic entity, moving the unit to focus more on decision making, institutional strategy, and transformation.

To answer two of the four research questions in the study, an online survey was distributed to the leadership of a distinct listing of midsized higher education institutions in the US. The remaining two research questions were addressed by analyzing archival data secured from a similar pool of higher education institutions in 2019. Responses to research question one and two were analyzed using ordinary least squares, with research question three and four using a t-test. The results were limited in their statistical significance save for research question three which saw a prediction to the size of the IT budget as it related to the CIO reporting structure.

The results inferred that reporting structure influences IT budget, while the remaining results only suggest findings indicating reporting structure influences IT strategic perception, and that a centralized staffing model may suggest an increase in perception of IT as a strategic entity and increased support.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material