Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Education

Document Type




The risk of financial sustainability for the university in the U.S. and Europe has been stressed by the reign of political authority in higher education disinvestment in the last four decades. The institution’s purpose has since been questioned, weighted by economics versus academics. Institutional priority and expanded centrality for strategic planning of societal engagement––the Third Mission––coupled with the Education and Research missions, promote clarity of the university’s purpose in this knowledge-based economy. Transparency of intended opportunities for regional economic engagement and societal development is then demonstrated to university communities. A comparative international case study of financial strategies between the U.S. Flagship and European World Class University (WCU) was explored in a qualitative analysis of viewpoints from four notable academics in higher education––two from the U.S. and two from Europe––and a gap analysis of strategic plans between Louisiana State University in the U.S. and the University of Bologna in Italy. Significant to the findings of this study, favorable institutional priority shifts in Third Mission strategic resources can imply ongoing university-community partnerships and growing revenue streams. Organizational change and strategic alignment from the traditional disciplinary university structure to an interdisciplinary framework design enables an external orientation that can maximize community partnerships, and engages academics, research, and service to promote economic development and innovative social growth. Leadership of the University of Bologna reframed its strategic framework in 2017, adapting all 17 of the United Nations 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to assist in achieving financial stability. Further research may indicate university networks of common SDGs translate into a new model for success in university community and regional engagement, social growth, and significant influence on political power shifts across the globe.



Committee Chair

Curry, Jennifer