Roger A. Roy

Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Individually Designed


Carol Gilmore

Second Committee Member

Suzanne Estler

Third Committee Member

Carolyn Ball


This study is an assessment of a use in a higher education setting of an organizational design technique developed in industrial settings. This technique called landscape design is an application of principles of complexity theory. The technique involves influencing localized decisions by altering the setting in which localized decisions are made (Levinthal & Warglien, 1999). This study assesses an application of landscape design principles to student academic success in a higher educational setting. A small, rural campus of a state university system used a first-year-experience course to increase new student, academic performance. This study compares the aggregate performance, as measured by average grade point average and retention rate of incoming classes of new students who were subjected to a first-year-experience course that incorporated landscape design principles, to the aggregate performance of classes of students who were subjected to an earlier non-landscape-design version of first-year-experience