Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mass Communication

Document Type



American public universities have passed through three stages of development: the religious, the philanthropic/land-grant, and the federal research university. Squeezed by government budget cuts and demands for more money to pay for research and faculty raises, U.S. higher education has entered a fourth phase, the entrepreneurial university. Public universities are increasingly capitalizing on the intellectual property of their faculty and students to sustain themselves and expand. Administrators spout free-market rhetoric as faculty attempt to commercialize research by creating spin-off companies. Using Louisiana State University as a case study, this dissertation, applies a combination of organizational knowledge creation and resource dependence theories to analyze the emergence of academic entrepreneurialism. This study also assesses LSU’s capitalistic effectiveness against models of entrepreneurial development used by other U.S. colleges and frames entrepreneurial communication within the context of the state’s political environment, state budget cuts, and tuition waivers awarded to academically superior undergraduates. LSU messaging is compared to other peer public universities and scrutinized within the framework of results from a national public opinion survey on LSU’s image. Results suggest strong support for the concept of university entrepreneurialism, but indicate the American public, aside from athletics, doesn’t know much about LSU academics or research. Testing of LSU-related messages, meanwhile, advances themes that resonate among respondents and provide potential communication paths for increasing LSU’s national academic prominence and entrepreneurial success.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Ralph Izard