Organizations of Higher Education Institutions
Public vs. Private
Throughout this course this semester, I have had many different opinions regarding
institutions of higher education. The one thing that has really stood out in my mind is how
corrupt and unfair thesystem sometimes is for its faculty, staff and students. The discussions,
readings and short visual clipsshown in class has really forced me to take a closer look at
colleges and universities and how theyoperate on a daily basis, and who the major players are
in this game of academia. The course has alsohelped me to better understand the business
side of a college or university, and how the competitionlevel between different departments
for valuable resources plays such a vital role to a departments survival.
Organization and Administration within higher education can be very confusing and
somewhatdeceptive for certain individuals and departments if the wrong approach is used.
Networking skills and connections can serve as a strong vehicle to ride as the journey through
academia is traveled.
As a student in this class, I have learned a lot about the major differences among certain
colleges and universities. Some of the dissimilarities are public vs. private, nonprofit vs.
profit, and the governing boards. For my final paper I would like to take an in
depth looks at the major differences between public and private institutions. I would like to
analyze in detail the challenges, strengths, design and structure of both types of institutions. I
would also then give mysincerest opinions of these particular institutions of higher education
and which one would give a potential collegiate student the most benefit.
Organizations of Higher Education Institutions
Public vs. Private
Salem State University
Instructor: Dr. Gregg Glover
Organizations of Higher Education (Public vs. Private) 3
The University of Massachusetts Boston also known as UMass Boston, is an urban public
research university and the second largest campus in the five University of Massachusetts
System. The university is located on 177 acres on the Harbor Point peninsula in the City of
Boston, Massachusetts. The college was established by vote of the State Legislature in 1964.
The first Freshman class started in 1965 with approximately 1281 students.
UMass/Boston is a part of the Greater Boston Urban Education Collaborative; in 1982 it
merged with Boston State College (established in 1852). The university has approximately 15,
400 students, with 11,044 enrolled in undergraduate studies program. Students can take
advantage of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Certificates, Continuing and Distance
learning programs are also offered at the institution. There are a total of eight colleges within
UMass/Boston. The College of Liberal Arts, Sciences, Mathematics, Management,
Nursing/Health, Public/Community Service, Education and Human Development are programs
that students from the school of undergraduates participate in. The Graduate School offers
programs in Policy and Global Studies, and University College.
University of Massachusetts at Boston is fully accredited by the New England
Association of Schools and Colleges. The faculty consists of over 900 instructors, 450 tenured
staff and 450 adjunct teachers. Ninety – six percent of the staff holds the highest degrees in
their chosen field of study.
Organizations of Higher Education (Public vs. Private) 4
Fisher Collegeis a private institution that grants both baccalaureate and associate
degrees. The College is located on Beacon Street in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston. The
College was founded in 1903 by two members of the Fisher family, Myron and Edmund, under
the name Winter Hill Business College. The mission of the institution at that time was to
strongly promote vocational programs. This objective is still a part of Fisher College’s tradition
today. The institution currently has 1121 full time students enrolled. During the 1940’s, the
college was split into two separate entities: The Fisher School for Men and The Fisher School for
Women. The Division of Continuing Education was established in 1975, and the college
established an Online Division currently ranked #12 in the nation. In 1998 the College’s Day –
Division became co-educational.
Athletically, there are major differences between these two institutions although both
are considered to be varsity collegiate level programs. UMass/Boston offers 18 varsity sports
programs, while Fisher College only offers 6. UMass is a member of the National Collegiate
Athletic Association (NCAA Div. III) opposed to Fisher who is a member of the National
Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA Div. II). Fisher College, because they are a private
division two program, it has the ability to offer potential athletes athletic scholarships. UMass
being a public division three program, cannot offer athletes athletic aid, but can offer an
academic scholarship if a student athlete is eligible. Another vast difference regarding sports at
this level is how each program receives funding to operate within their department.
Organizations of Higher Education and our Economic Climate: 5
A public four year institution uses state funding from its overall budget to function, while a
private college depends on student enrollment and tuition to support athletics.
Our current economic environment and the ever-changing higher education
marketplace, many private and public colleges and universities are shifting away from the
traditional education business model. Most institutions now project less optimistic levels of
state funding, tuition increases and a decrease in annual donations and endowment returns.
The realities of these projections, along with increased competition for students have forced
institutions to maintain flexibility and implement aggressive business strategies in order to
remain competitive in the long-term.
Per President Obama’s State of the Address: America’s higher education systems are
facing new changes in 2012-2013 and they will have to make some bold new changes to remain
competitive. Also, some of our fellow colleges and universities in Massachusetts have reported
that they saw a decrease in the amount of federal or state and location funding that they
received in 2012.
In a November 28, 2011 Special Comment entitled U.S Expansion Offers Opportunities and Risks
for Universities, Moody’s reports on the emerging strategy of expanding to multiple campuses
across the country to diversify and grow revenue. Moody’s highlights Northeastern University’s
announced plan to launch a system of regional campuses in select US cities, beginning with
Charlotte, NC and Seattle, WA. The private sector colleges and universities have been
employing this tactic for years to gain market share across the country and globally. Nonprofit
institutions, however, have been reluctant to expand beyond the traditional campus until now.
In addition to Northeastern, Virginia Tech and Johns Hopkins have established
Organizations of Higher Education (Public vs. Private) 6
technology campuses in Washington, DC to take advantage of the region’s extensive technology
When a college partners with a private sector partner, it is often done so to move some
operational burdens away from the institution. The private sector’s speed and expertise creates
the efficiencies needed to quickly capitalize on important market opportunities, especially in
areas outside of the institution’s knowledge or proficiency. For example, in the case of a
campus expansion such Bunker Hill Community College’s new Health and Wellness Center, the
right strategic community partners have allowedBHCC to focus on academic programs and
recruiting students while maintaining operating efficiency with our vas amount of community
offerings and programs. Careful strategic planning early in the process with a private sector firm
allows the institution to mobilize quickly with a clear path moving forward. Thus, allowing a
public college such as Bunker Hill Community College to function like a private college in an
area where this type of thinking is necessary and revenue generating.
While conducting my research and interviews for this paper, the issue of tuition cost
came up several times during my interviews with college officials. Thus, I decided to ask them
to weigh all of the following elements:
Public Colleges hold an advantage over private college establishments in the following ways.
Public universities are big. They are designed to hold a great deal of students and offer a wider
range of course options as opposed to private colleges.
Organizations of Higher Education (Public vs. Private) 7
The tuition is generally less expensive and the quality of teachers is great. Why? Because public
universities bring in, on average, more revenue than private ones. Although private colleges have
private funding, things such as collegiate athletes help fund public universities.
These schools provide the cover of a well-funded school with smaller classes, less people, and
While they are much more expensive, they offer a quality of individual attention that’s second to
While compiling my information for this particular project, I had the pleasure of
interviewing Mr. Charles Titus from the University of Massachusetts at Boston. Mr.
Titus has been affiliated with the university for more than 25 years. He is currently the
Vice Chancellor, Athletic Director and Head Men’s Basketball Coach. Coach Titus has
been involved in the field of academics and athletics for more than forty years. I really
enjoyed interviewing this gentleman because he brought a wealth of knowledge to the
table regarding public vs. private colleges administratively as well as athletically. I also
discovered some new information regarding athletics that I was not privy too before our
I asked Vice Chancellor Titus, to please tell me in his words the difference between
public vs. private institutions? He responded by saying, “there are many differences to
me regarding public and private institutions, but mainly it relates to how funding is
distributed and how decisions are made”. “In the public sector, you have more
bureaucracy, rules and regulations you have to adhere to before certain projects move”.
Even though both entities have governing board of trustees and committees they have
must report too. The overall process is different.
Organizations of Higher Education (Public vs. Private) 8
“In the private sector, if for example you want to construct a new building on
campus, if the money is in place, an institution can immediately start the construction
“In terms of athletics, private institutions utilize their sports programs to stimulate
or drive enrollment’. “Private colleges don’t receive funds from state legislatures, so as
a result of this they rely heavily on tuition and private contributions”. I asked Coach
Titus, what is the difference between Division II scholarship program and Division III
non-scholarship program and how did that decision come into being? His response
was, “many years ago in the late 70’s when the league was forming a group of
administrators got together and decided to have a league of colleges that would
compete athletically and distinguish themselves as division III level programs and share
the philosophy of not giving athletes any athletic scholarship money”. I was surprised to
hear his answer to that question. I was under the impression that this particular rule
was handed down by the National Office for the NCAA’s. I was not prepared to
discover that the whole reason why athletes do not receive money at the division III
level is simply because it was decided and agreed upon by the administrators to
implement this philosophy. I also discovered in my interview with VC Titus, that the
main difference between NCAA Institutions and NAIA Institutions is the league rules and
I really enjoyed my interview with Mr. Titus regarding this subject matter. I
thought he was very insightful, knowledgeable, humorous and honest. I also got the
impression that he was not a man who shied from making the tough decisions or
discussing those sometimes sensitive issues.
Organizations of Higher Education (Public vs. Private) 9
In terms of the private institution resources, I interviewed a younger gentlemen
by the name of Mr. Scott Dulin from Fisher College. Mr. Dulin has been affiliated with
Fisher for a little over 12 years. Scott is currently the college’s Athletic Director and
Head Coach of Men’s Baseball. My experience with Mr. Dulin was very different from
my first interview I had with Coach Titus at UMass Boston. Although quite
knowledgeable on the subject matter in his own right, I immediately noticed a difference
in demeanor with Coach Dulin. He seemed very anxious when we met and his answers
were very brief in response. When asked, what were some of the differences between
public and private institutions of higher education, his response was, “Money”! “At
Fisher, we are 90% tuition driven, the other funding comes from our endowments,
contributions to the college, and investments over the years”.
In terms of the structural framework at Fisher College, Scott is in a much better
situation than that of Mr. Titus at the public institution. Coach Dulin has only three
channels he has to deal with before he is granted permission for any major project.
Coach Titus has twice as many hoops to jump through if not more in public sector, and
before permission is granted, the project has to be sent out for a bidding war among
contractors within the state legislature.
“Athletically, private institutions have to be very creative in terms of programming,
and we have to be very meticulous how we spend each and every dollar ”, said Coach
Dulin. “The scheduling of games, for example, is a vital piece for a private institutions
survival”. In a lot of cases, Fisher College will play or compete against schools in higher
divisions because in doing so, that higher ranking college will help with travel expenses
etc. When Mr. Dulin made that comment, my response to him was, it must be tough for
you and your teams to win championships under those conditions. He replied, “It is
Organizations of Higher Education (Public vs. Private) 10
what we have to do here at Fisher if we are going to continue to have athletics”. I was
very surprised to hear of this news. I can just imagine how hard it must be to operate
under those conditions.
Overall, I found my interview with Coach Dulin was very interesting. I thought he
was personable in some cases, but also very stuffy on some fronts. The impression I
got from him was a polar opposite of the one I received from Coach Titus. However, I
did find some new discoveries while interviewing both subjects.
In relation to the Structural Framework according to Bolman and Deal, I thought
that UMass/Boston and Fisher College, though vastly different in terms of protocol,
demonstrated and practiced a good understanding of that philosophy. I thought both
Have established themselves and are working to achieve goals and objectives
Have increased efficiency and performance through specialized division of labor
Exercise daily coordination and control within their department to ensure that
diverse efforts of individuals and units mesh
Rationality is utilized on a daily basis over personal agendas
The structures currently in place fit the current circumstances of the institution
Existing structural deficiencies are remedied with new analysis and restructuring
Symbolically, Fisher College and UMass/Boston resonate with their respected
institutional logos/mascot. UMass Boston’s mascot is the Beacons and Fisher College’s
logo is the Falcons. At UMass the university wants to serve as a Beacon that helps
individuals find their way if they are lost in world of education. Fisher College wants to
present the image of a large winged bird (Falcon) souring over the clouds, and sort of
rising above the heavens in destination to a better life.
Organizations of Higher Education (Public vs. Private) 11
The Political Framework at these institutions are challenged almost on a daily basis.
Both institutions of higher education deal with Bolman & Deals five assumptions of
Each institution has an assortment of individuals and interest groups
Each coalition members have deeply rooted differences in values, beliefs, and
Each Athletic Department has a decision making process and how its allocated
Each Athletic Department has the constant challenge of the day to day group
dynamics in and out of the department
Each institution has the battle of goals and decisions being negotiated and made
for personal interest
There are obvious strengths and challenges within a private and public college.
After researching these two types of institutions, I did not get the sense that one was
any better than the other, or which path a potential student should follow. Financial
resources and how they get distributed seems to be the one common thread among
colleges and universities.
Whichever students choose, both private and public schools have high
standards. They need to know where they stand, what they want to get out of the
learning process, and in what environment that they can most effectively learn new
skills in order to proceed with a career beyond college.
Organizations of Higher Education (Public vs. Private) 12
Lee, G. Bolman& Terrence E. Deal (2008) Reframing Organizations, fourth edition.
The Structural Frame pgs. 45-48.
Lee, G. Bolman & Terrance E. Deal (2008) Reframing Organization, fourth edition.
The Symbolic Frame pgs. 253-258.
Lee, G. Bolman & Terrance E. Deal (2008) Reframing Organizations, fourth edition.
The Political Frame pgs. 191-195.
Ronald, G. Ehrenberg (2000) Tuition Rising, third edition.
Why College Costs So Much pgs. 3-10.
Tuby, K. (2011) Moody’s Investors Service Report, November 2011. Emerging expansion trend
creates risks, opportunities for US universities.
Titus, Department of Athletics: Public vs. Private Institutions, Interview. 30 April 2012.
Dulin, Department of Athletics: Public vs. Private Institutions, Interview. 1 May 2012.
Organizations of Higher Education (Public vs. Private)
The basis for this analysis is to point out some differences as well as similarities among
public and private institutions in higher education and how they play a vital role in athletics. In
this study I will take a closer look at public vs. private colleges and include some of the vast
differences among the two types of institutions and discuss athletics at UMass/Boston and
Fisher College. I will also communicate my discoveries I found in an in depth interview I
conducted with two Athletic Directors at each school.