Date of Award


Degree Name

Educational Leadership


College of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Bernard Queen

Second Advisor

Dorothy Johnson

Third Advisor

Ronald Childress

Fourth Advisor

John Andes

Fifth Advisor

Ermel Stepp


The problem investigated was the process by which policy is formulated for satellite distance learning systems in higher education. Effects of reporting levels, areas of origination, political pressure, discipline interest administrator characteristics, and type of positions were measured on the methods used by institutions create policies for satellite delivery of courses. The influences that other variables have on the decision makers were part of the study.

The population studied was made up of all administrators of higher education satellite distance learning systems in the United States. The population was the sample. The research instrument was a nominal survey developed by the researcher and mailed to the respondents.

The data was given empirical values and cross tabulated using SAS, Inc. processing. To determine the influence of variables, relationships were accepted or rejected using Chi Square (X2) with a significance at the .05 level.

The survey revealed that, overall, group decision making was the favored method of determining policy for satellite distance learning. The study suggests that while some variables showed greater levels of influence, most all had no statistical significance. The lone exception was that administrators had a much greater perception than faculty that group decision making was the preferred method of decision making.

Incidental findings indicated that satellite distance learning systems were unique to four-year schools and mostly associated with institutions having professional and graduate schools. The positions involved nor the areas of the university which initiated policies had any effect on the final outcomes.

It is important that administrators of distance learning systems understand the impact that the decision making process has on the policies that are being considered. Institutions of higher education need to incorporate efficient group decision making processes into its satellite policy formation procedures and have administrators competent in leading process. Such knowledge and leadership will facilitate the development of policy and minimize the concerns in its formation.


The University of West Virginia College of Graduate Studies became the WV Graduate College in 1992 and was subsequently merged with Marshall University in 1997.


University extension.

Distance education.