Perceptions of administrators in Texas colleges and universities regarding manpower/market strategies
The main purpose of this study was to examine the ratings of the Directors of Institutional Research and Development in Texas institutions of higher learning on components of Manpower/Market Strategies (demand assessment, institutional development, market analysis, and market development). The study also examined relationships between institutional variables (control, size, location, enrollment trend, and deviation of enrollment projection) and the Manpower/Market Strategies. An additional purpose of this study was to examine the outcomes of these alternatives in terms of job placement, retention/attrition, enrollment trend, and enrollment of minority groups of students, as perceived by administrators. The study consisted of a sample of institutions of higher education in Texas (N=120). A modified form of Brazziel's (1978) College Manpower/ Market Planning and Development Activities Survey questionnaire was used to determine the emphasis and value institutions place on various developmental activities. Response rate was 68% (n=81). Several analyses comprised the statistical treatment of the data. First, discriminant function analysis was employed to distinguish the characteristics on which the institutions were expected to differ. Second, multiple regression analysis was applied to allow an examination of a combination of institutional characteristics in predicting each of the planning strategies. Third, Pearson Product-Moment correlations were used to correlate Manpower/Market Strategies and their perceived outcomes. The results of the analysis revealed that administrators of public institutions were placing higher ratings on the survey of demand assessment and general market studies, and lower ratings on the practical components of institutional development and market development. Program change in modification of the liberal arts core and inclusion of various aspects of career preparation reported by private institutions were generally greater than those reported by public institutions. The ratings on Manpower/Market Strategies by public junior/community colleges were concentrated mostly on demand assessment and market development strategies. In comparison to senior institutions, junior/community colleges were more concerned with development of strategies which help them to recruit more students. Institutions which place more emphasis on Manpower/Market Strategies generally were those in which actual enrollment was higher than or equal to the enrollment projected by the Coordinating Board, Texas College and University System. In addition, institutions which utilized labor market data extensively had better perceived job placement rates. This study further found that institutions which had placed more emphasis on institutional development strategies were more likely to be those institutions whose student attendance and retention patterns were better than those which placed less emphasis. Information regarding enrollment trend, college-age youth, demographic data of population migration, and labor market needs permits decision makers to set priorities and to assess the status of a college or university, and thereby make needed decisions regarding that institution's planning. An increasing number of higher education institutions are becoming acutely aware of the fact that declining enrollment and lower job opportunities for graduates will ultimately have a real impact upon the institutions themselves. It was recommended that a replication of this study on institutions which have taken action to deal with enrollment and job opportunity problems should be undertaken to seek additional information and to substantiate or refute the conclusions of this study. Additional research was recommended to expand this study to include subjects from additional states and to consider different institutional characteristics (i.e., institutional affluence and student selectivity) in relation to ratings on Manpower/Market Strategies.