Term of Award

Spring 2002

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Administration

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Michael D. Richardson

Committee Member 1

Bryan W. Griffin

Committee Member 2

Bede Mitchell

Committee Member 3

Judith L. Repman


Intellectual property issues were numerous and often complex in higher education because colleges and universities were significant suppliers and consumers of IP. Furthermore, the creation of IP within academe was a core activity in fulfilling the standards for teaching, research, scholarship and service. It was unknown to what extent institutions developed and implemented policies that governed the determination of rights to copyrightable materials. The purpose of this study was to examine and evaluate IP policies at four-year institutions of higher education to determine how they addressed the issues associated with the increasing use of technology on college campuses. Four hundred and thirty-eight four-year public higher education institutions in the United States that were degree-granting and accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and were classified by the Carnegie Institute as either Doctorategranting Institutions or Master's Colleges and Universities were asked to participate in this study. Surveys were mailed to academic vice presidents of the participating institutions because it was believed that intellectual property and research administration offices typically reported to the office of the academic vice president/provost. The survey instrument consisted of 28 multiple-choice and open-ended questions regarding IP policies at institutions of higher education. A frequency distribution was performed for each multiple-choice question to report total responses (numeric and percentage) and variability among responses. A high online response rate indicated that administrators were relatively comfortable with technology and preferred the convenience of being able to respond quickly and effortlessly online. Lack of responses to many of the survey questions indicated that administrators were not familiar with their institutions' IP policies nor with the issues regarding distance learning and online course materials. Furthermore, many of the institutions had not determined how income generated from distance learning and online course materials would be disbursed. It became evident that although the majority of the institutions did have IP policies, covered distance learning and online course materials in those policies and treated the materials as copyrights, most of the policies were merely patent policies that only specified ownership and income disposition of patentable materials. It was further found that although most of the IP policies covered faculty, professional staff, nonprofessional staff, graduate students employed by the university and undergraduate students employed by the university, most were not involved in formulating the policy nor were they required to sign it.


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