Using Research Data to Assist in Developing and Marketing Strategies to Enhance Knowledge of Relevant Law among Faculty and Academic Administrators in Colleges and Universities

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ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study was to measure knowledge of constitutional and federal statutory law relevant to public institutions of higher education receiving any form of federal funding. The study was designed to determine the percentage of faculty and academic administrators at higher educational institutions who could demonstrate a proficient knowledge concerning relevant legal issues related to constitutional and federal statutory law.

The investigation built upon that of Goellnitz (1993), who focused on the development and validation of an instrument to measure knowledge of constitutional and federal statutory law relevant to public institutions of higher education. It was the Goellnitz instrument that was used for this study.

The instrument consisted of 25 True-False items. Eighteen items were designed to measure knowledge of constitutional law and 7 items were designed to assess knowledge of federal statutory law. The main question addressed in this study was, "What is the level of knowledge of relevant constitutional and federal statutory law of faculty and academic administrators in four-year public colleges and universities receiving any form of federal funding?"

The study participants were from the 16 constituent universities of the university of North Carolina. Faculty and academic administrators from each institution were included in the study. After administration of the instrument, which was essentially a test, the resultant data were treated by several appropriate statistical tests.

Several significant findings emerged from the analysis of the data. In general, faculty and academic administrators did not have a proficient knowledge of relevant law. Demographic factors, such as level of education, and years of experience, were not correlated with higher levels of knowledge. The most significant, however, was that scores for academic administrators at the various institutions were higher than those for faculty. Specific recommendations for future studies and for development of law-related training programs were made. By using these research data, senior university administrators may develop strategies and plans to enhance knowledge of relevant law among faculty and academic administrators in institutions of higher education.

INTRODUCTION

An analysis was conducted using an electronically mailed questionnaire to determine the knowledge levels of faculty and academic administrators at selected universities concerning federal statutory and case law related to higher education. The data from this study were analyzed by examining the percentage of respondents who attained the level of proficiency. This could help colleges and universities, and professional organizations plan for the development of instructional methodologies to provide faculty and academic administrators with the necessary law-related training. The demographics of the respondents were also contrasted with responses to identify patterns.

The purpose of this study was to measure level of knowledge of constitutional and federal statutory law relevant to public institutions of higher education receiving any form of federal funding. The study analyzed the legal knowledge levels of faculty and academic administrators at selected higher education institutions. The study determined overall knowledge level of the major legal issues by questioning two groups--faculty and academic administrators--with respect to specific areas of the law that are pertinent to their areas of responsibility and concern. These specific areas included: 1) equal protection, 2) freedom of expression, 3) privacy rights, and 4) due process of law as related to dealings and interactions with students. Information on demographics was also collected.

RESEARCH POPULATION

The population consisted of members of the faculty and administrative staff who are employed at one of the public four-year institutions of higher education in the 16 constituent universities of the University of North Carolina (UNC). …