Date of Award

Fall 10-3-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Audrey Rabas, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

George Lisjak, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Julia Britt, Ed.D.


Using transformational leadership theory as a foundational framework, this qualitative phenomenological study explored the ways lay and religious leaders at three Catholic and Marianist universities in Hawaii, Ohio, and Texas, live out, strategize, and sustain mission and identity through intentional collaboration. The problem addressed was that due to membership declining within the religious congretion in these Catholic institutions of higher education, leadership roles for strategizing for mission have shifted from vowed religious members of the congregations to lay professionals. Semistructured interviews were conducted with professional lay staff and faculty, lay executive administrators, and members of the Marianist order. The research questions pertained to how universities manifest intentional collaboration among lay executive leaders, decision makers, and their religious counterparts to create a culture of commitment to sustain and promote mission and identity and to how formation efforts can be effective in preparing lay leaders to sustain mission and identity and create avenues for promoting the religious founding charism and spirit. Data were analyzed using the Van Kaam Method. The results indicate high commitment to the mission and identity of the universities from the lay professionals and a sense of shared ownership on behalf of the religious brothers. However, there is also a perception that lay administration should be intentional regarding institutionalizing mission as the number of religious brothers declines.

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