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Redesigning Higher Education

A Small New England Public University Changes Higher Education

Donald L. Birx, Annette M. Holba and Patricia T. Bahr

Redesigning Higher Education: A Small New England Public University Changes Higher Education tells the story of how Plymouth State University (New Hampshire), a small New England public university, is changing the face and future of higher education for the 21st century. This is the Plymouth Experiment. The authors highlight ongoing change and transformation at Plymouth State University during challenging demographic and financial times in higher education. With many institutions merging or closing across the nation, Plymouth State University’s fifteenth president brought a vision for organizational transformation grounded in holistic integration with student-centered decision-making. The transformation began with reorganizing twenty-four academic departments and three colleges into seven Integrated Clusters of discipline-based communities. Redesigning Higher Education uses a storytelling narrative approach to provide a practical application of the radical changes meant to transform the higher education experience.

Redesigning Higher Education: A Small New England Public University Changes Higher Education situates change and innovation within a particular organizational narrative and context. The authors demonstrate the collaborative spirit they strongly promote by exploring the intersection of theory and practice as it unfolds on their campus.”—Brent Sleasman, President, Winebrenner Theological Seminary

“The story of Plymouth State University is a story of institutional transformation through the willingness to take risks and embrace change. Leaders at all levels have created a leaner, more focused institution through the integration of systems and processes—integration that can serve as a model for other institutions, both public and private.”—Betsy Barefoot, Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education