Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Jim Upchurch

Second Advisor

Dennis Crocker

Third Advisor

Jeffrey S. Williamson

Scholarship Domain(s)

Scholarship of Discovery


While the world of higher education is rapidly changing, the trustee selection process and resultant board composition in Nazarene liberal arts schools has remained largely the same for the past 60 years. Trustee selection has been primarily a function of the church, disconnected often times from the needs of the schools. This study examined trustee effectiveness in Nazarene liberal arts higher education, as well as the church-school relationship. Trustees at three schools and top administrators at all eight Nazarene institutions were surveyed to identify gaps in trustee competency and also to assess the church-school relationship. Of the 139 trustees in the three schools surveyed, 109 trustees completed the survey for a response rate of 78%. Out of a total of 49 administrators, at all eight schools, 40 completed the survey for a response rate of 82%. Results indicated that trustee competencies were lacking in 9 of 11 functional areas identified as important by administrators. A statistically significant difference was also found in the perception of trustees and administrators regarding whether the current trustees were adequately prepared to govern the university. The majority of trustees perceived their primary loyalty, while serving in the trustee role, to be with a church-related entity. Administrators overwhelmingly perceived that, when in the trustee role, the trustee primary loyalty should be to the school. Overall, both trustees and administrators reported the church-school relationship to be strong, with most describing it as a ministry and extension of the church.


Ed.D. dissertation completed in 2015 for Olivet Nazarene University.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.