Date of Award

January 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Education, Health & Behavior Studies

First Advisor

Deborah Worley


A growing body of research exists on core values. However, limited scholarly research exists on core values in higher education institutions that operate in volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) environments. And yet, society entrusts higher education with our nation’s most important resource—our future leaders. University adopted core values serve as guideposts for institution stakeholders. Core values are important for an organization’s identity by providing concise and powerful guidelines for collective stakeholder action. Core values provide a true north values vector, especially when ambiguity and uncertainty exist. This, in turn, helps increase judgement and decision-making skills that are clearly aligned with codified values. This dissertation research focuses on the perspectives of four key internal stakeholder populations—students, faculty, staff, and administrators—at a Midwestern university. However, in this study administrators provided limited feedback; therefore, the analysis is limited. The participants’ perspectives relate to understanding their familiarity with the institutional core values and to what extent stakeholders internalize core values to guide their daily actions as members of the campus community. The four populations are critical to day-to-day higher education institutional operations. Quantitative data collected from the four stakeholder groups totaled 209 completed responses that were statistically analyzed utilizing 12 core values. This analysis determined level of familiarity and the extent of agreement with the core values. All stakeholder groups were familiar with UND Core Values and UND President shared values in differing degrees with faculty, staff and students providing the highest percentages in order. Of the six UND Core Values, community and discovery achieved the highest level of familiarity and the extent of agreement. While creating a caring campus community rated the highest from all stakeholders within the six UND President shared values. Statistical evaluation of both UND Core Values and UND President shared values did not produce statistically significant results when comparing all stakeholders’ responses to familiarity. The research serves as the basis for future manuscripts from multiple stakeholder perspectives.