The image of Olivet Nazarene College as perceived by selected institutional reference groups

No Thumbnail Available
Spittal, David James, 1945-
Marconnit, George D.
Issue Date
Thesis (D. Ed.)
Other Identifiers

The purpose of the study was to determine and compare the perceived images of Olivet Nazarene College as reported by related reference groups consisting of administrators, trustees, faculty, students, alumni, parents and prospective students.The population of the study consisted of 924 individuals selected at random from listings provided by the college. A total of 610 individuals responded to the questionnaire providing a 66 per cent return from the population.The instrument used for the study consisted of eighty-one words or phrases that have been used to describe various colleges and universities including Olivet Nazarene College. Individuals were asked to respond on a five-point Likert scale indicating the extent each word or phrase described Olivet Nazarene College.The frequency data were organized into contingency tables and analyzed using the chi square test of independence. Paired reference groups were examined to test the null hypothesis of no significant difference in group responses. Internal and external reference groups were also compared and reported in the study.ConclusionsThe following conclusions were based on a review literature as presented in the study and the results the analysis of data:1. Colleges and universities communicate distinct images to the various publics associated withthe institution. The nature of the images vary significantly from group to group and are often unrelated to reality or actual environments of the institution.2. Images are not necessarily based on personal experiences but are accumulated from a variety of sources with varied levels of credibility.3. Student perceptions of college environments tend to be more critical than other groups, however, student perceptions may be more objective and more related to reality than the perceptions of other groups.4. Due to the complexity and changing nature of institutional images, it appears to be difficult if not impossible, to completely control the type or quality or image communicated to various publics.5. Words and phrases used to communicate college image carry a variety of connotations whichmay negatively or positively affect institutional images. College descriptors are often selected without concern for clarity and credibility creating confusion among institutional reference groups.6. Prospective students view colleges more positively than do other groups.7. Perceptions of prospective students change drastically upon arrival at an institution. Inaccurate images created through communications programs do not sustain images once personal contact is made with the institution.8. Images perceived by groups closely related to a college tend to be different and are usually more critical than external groups with the exception of alumni.9. Despite differences in perceived images held by various reference groups, most colleges have distinctive images which distinguish one institution from another.