Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction


The primary purpose of this investigation is to develop a system of analysis to examine the relationship between an institution of higher education and the community in which it resides. A second purpose is to demonstrate the utility of the system by conducting a case study of the relationship between Black Hills State University (BHSU) and Spearfish, SD;The system of analysis includes: (a) five elements of interaction (i.e., event, purpose(s), participants, outcome(s), and interaction type(s); (b) five corresponding questions; (c) two constructed types from the literature; and (d) categorical and supplemental analyses;A list of BHSU and Spearfish events was compiled. A citizens' panel, nominated to select events for study, chose six categories of events: (a) Institutional Survival, (b) Interaction with the Public Schools, (c) Growth and Expansion, (d) Education and Culture for Community, (e) Water, and (f) Economic Impact. Data were collected using multiple methods;Major findings: (a) The system of analysis produced findings consistent with the theoretical foundations. (b) Case study findings indicate that BHSU and Spearfish have a symbiotic relationship as they tend to cooperate for mutual benefit or exchange benefits. Purposes for interaction relate to primary functions (i.e., BHSU: teaching, service; Spearfish: education, finance, public works). Major participants in events for BHSU were the president and board; faculty and students were less evident. Community participants were selective in involvement. The major Spearfish groups are: (a) public school personnel, (b) mayor/council, (c) chamber/business, (d) general citizens, (e) influentials; the latter were most frequently involved. A general pattern of interaction was revealed and also patterns for each category;The findings demonstrate that the system of analysis may have utility as a research tool for the study of other town-gown relationships. The findings may be useful to BHSU and Spearfish in future interactions.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Suzanne Wrightfield White



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267 pages