The Administration of Online Programs in Statewide Systems: A Case Study of The University System of New Hampshire

Chris L. LaBelle
Colorado State University

Patrick R. Lowenthal
Boise State University

Kerry Rice
Boise State University


As enrollments in postsecondary online programs have grown, many institutions have pursued a more centralized business model that consolidates their online programming under a single executive leader, a statewide system office, or a coalition of institutions that have merged operations and assets. In this study, the researchers used an exploratory case study design–using both surveys and interviews–to investigate how online programs are administered at four institutions in the University System of New Hampshire (USNH). Several findings emerged from the data. First, participants struggled finding a common vocabulary when talking about online programs and the potential benefits of system-level collaboration; second, administrators frequently prioritized their local program tasks over system-wide collaboration; and third, although there was not a strategic plan in place to help institutions collaborate, participants agreed that such a plan would be valuable.

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