Year of Publication


Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Charles Galloway

Second Advisor

Dr. Henry Thomas

Third Advisor

Dr. Steven Paulson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Aline Stomfay-Stitz

Department Chair

Dr. Kenneth T. Wilburn

College Dean

Dr. Katherine Kasten


This study examines issues of access to higher education in Florida and South Africa. On November 9, 1999, the Governor of the State of Florida issued Executive Order 99-281 to establish the One Florida Initiative (OFI), which barred the use of race as a factor in university admissions. In South Africa, the government in February 2001 issued its National Plan for Higher Education (SANPHE). This plan outlined a framework to redress past inequities in the higher education system perpetuated by the former government's apartheid ideology. Senior university leaders in Florida and South Africa were required to implement their respective policy. The purpose of the study investigates two research questions:

1. What were the assumptions and political processes that contributed to the establishment of OFI and SANPHE policies?

2. How did the leadership at selected institutions implement OFI and SANPHE policies?

Using a qualitative methodology and focused interviews with senior leaders at two universities in Florida and South Africa, this study discusses the challenges and conflicts the leaders faced in implementing their respective policy. The challenges and conflicts included those of university governance, decision-making, leadership style, diversity, affirmative action and policy making. It discusses the unique ways of implementing a policy with which one might not agree and it provides a comparative understanding of challenges faced by university leaders in Florida and South Africa.

Five findings were noted from the data analysis. They are: Leaders must have steadfast philosophical beliefs about the need to broaden access for those who have been historically discriminated against; there must be an awareness of the value of affirmative action and diversity to an institution; participatory style of leadership is a characteristic common to all leaders; commitment to team dynamics was a persuasive attribute that the leaders practiced and the exercise of prudent discretion to implement a policy seemed to be an attribute that resonated with all the leaders. The study concluded with a proposition of a model to determine or to predict leadership effectiveness - referred to as the Belief/Action Leadership Style Model and recommendations of areas for further research in Florida and South Africa.

This study's results are useful for policy makers and senior leaders at higher education institutions.