Higher Education Stakeholders' Perceptions of Tennessee's Current Performance Funding Policy

Ronald Charles Williams, Tennessee State University


This study encompasses an in-depth analysis of the performance funding policy currently utilized by public colleges and universities in Tennessee. Performance funding is a method in which an evaluation of outputs mechanism is utilized in an effort to monitor the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of the institutions within public higher education systems. Using a mixed method model, this research incorporates archival survey data and interview responses from policy elites to explore the perceptions of higher education stakeholders regarding the use of the performance funding model within the funding formula for Tennessee higher education institutions. The quantitative section focused on all of the public higher education institutions in Tennessee. The qualitative section focused on four select institutions in Middle Tennessee: Austin Peay State University, Nashville State Technical Community College, Tennessee State University, and Volunteer State Community College. This study sought to determine how performance funding policy has impacted public colleges and universities in the state of Tennessee. An analysis of the archival surveys and elite interviews demonstrated that the overall impact of performance funding in Tennessee has been positive. Although several policy weaknesses have been identified throughout the data, the majority of the data yielded positive results. Several stakeholders suggested that it is not the policy that needs to be revised; it is the implementation of the policy that has flaws. Based on the analysis of the questions posed in the archival study, institutional stakeholders are pleased with the current standards that exist within the performance funding program. It was concluded that institutional stakeholders, at both the university and college levels, recognize the benefits of performance on their campuses. They are satisfied with policy and believe that it promotes a positive overall and academic campus climate. Tennessee institutional stakeholders believe that performance funding works to promote external, legislative, and institutional accountability and institutional improvement. An overwhelming number of respondents stressed how important and helpful the performance funding policy has been in the accreditation process for Tennessee's public colleges and universities. Stakeholders contended that institutional and specialized program accreditation is paramount to the public perception of institutional quality and efficiency.

Subject Area

Higher education|Education finance|Educational administration

Recommended Citation

Ronald Charles Williams, "Higher Education Stakeholders' Perceptions of Tennessee's Current Performance Funding Policy" (2005). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3206711.