Differences in Summer Session Administrative Structures: Assessment of Potential Effect on Performance Outcomes

Loy Lytle, William J. Kops, Christopher Seaman


This is the second paper drawn from a two-phase study aimed at (1) determining how summer sessions are organized and administered at AUSS, NAASS, NCCSS, and WASSA member institutions to better understand the range and diversity of essential summer session functions performed and (2) examining whether these administrative/organizational differences affect performance-based outcomes important to the success of the summer term. The first phase of the study (Kops & Lytle, 2013) reported that the organization and administration of summer session functions—assessed by a 38-item survey returned by 115 member institutions—fell along a centralized/decentralized continuum characterized as highly centralized (all or most functions performed by a single summer session office), hybridized (some functions performed by a summer sessions office while others are devolved to campus units/departments), or decentralized (most functions performed by campus units/departments other than summer session). This paper reports on the total 134 member institutions that completed the 38-item survey. As well, it reports on the findings of an outcomes questionnaire sent to all survey respondents to explore the possible extent to which differences in summer session organizational structures affected selected student-based (unduplicated headcount and credit hours) and finance-based (tuition revenue and instruction-related expenses incurred in teaching courses) performance outcomes in the summer 2012 term. The 38-item survey instrument proved sensitive to how functions important for the summer term are managed and performed at the colleges and universities participating in the study. Although the organizational structure of summer sessions varied significantly among survey respondents, with private institutions somewhat more centralized than publicly funded ones, the results of the outcomes questionnaire indicated that the organizational structure had no significant effect on student-based or finance-based performance outcomes.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5203/sa.v8i0.526