Charles Leasure Social Values – Dana Hall Case Study Elaine Betts is addressing Mr. William McMurtrie about changes that might be necessary for the survival of Dana Hall. This imaginary dialogue is based on a case study titled Dana Hall: Funding Mission article by McFarlan, Leonard & Tritter, 2006. E. B. = You and I certainly have a very serious mission in formulating a new mission for Dana Hall. The present mission of the school has served it well in the past but is it right for the future of Dana Hall? W. M. I have only been involved with Dana Hall a short time but I am a trustee because I believe in what the school has done for its students as a single sex school. The girls are more confident, more academically engaged, and happier than students in coeducational schools. Why do we need to change? E. B. = Yes, I agree that Dana Hall is a wonderful school and that the students have flourished. But can the school continue to survive with declining enrollment and ongoing financial difficulties? We have gone from 450 students a few years ago to 374 now. This decline occurred even as we expanded into other grades and ages.
Tuition had covered expenses in other years but now we are relying more on other sources of income that give us an unstable financial base. We seem to be living from year to year. This will make it very hard to grow our student body numbers. W. M. = It is easy to see the deficits adding up and fewer students in the future. The present method of financing of the school will surely lead to eventually closing the institution. I feel that we have three choices. We could continue on as we are until the school closes, we could make the school coeducational or we could somehow improve the financial and enrollment situation.
It is my objective to keep Dana Hall open. What do you think will work? E. B. = Again, I can say that Dana Hall has been excellent for girls for the past hundred years (McFarlan, Leonard, & Tritter, 2006). I will also say that I plan on leading the school positively into its next hundred years. Dana Hall has had three headmistresses in a few short years before me (McFarlan, et al. , 2006). I plan to stay and move Dana Hall forward. W. M. = Stability will be wonderful for the school and its students. How can you guide the committee in developing a mission that will benefit Dana Hall?
How do we sustain Dana Hall? E. B. = One question we must answer is whether or not we are willing to change. We are very happy to be what we are presently. I know this is our most supported position. If we decide that is what we want, then we must formulate ways to make it work. Yes, an all girls school is not the norm these days. What makes Dana Hall unique and what can we offer girls that cannot be offered in a coed school? Can we make parents willing to contribute through tuition or other means to ensure the viability of the school both academically and financially?
Or is there a way to decrease expenses and still maintain our quality? W. M. = What if we decide this will not work? E. B. = There is the possibility of merger with a boys school. I was not here in 1971 when Dana Hall almost merged with St. Paul’s and do not know the reasons why this did not occur then but there are not many boys only schools left in the area (McFarlan, et al. , 2006). Maybe we should become coed by ourselves (McFarlan, et al. , 2006)? We would need to thoroughly plan to determine if this would ultimately increase our costs.
Other all girls schools have successfully become coeducational in one way or another. I only hope that Dana Hall will keep its identity if we go this route. W. M. = Elaine, you have given me some interesting ways to address this problem. I can also see researching benefits of discontinuing boarding. Also, should be expand our ages and grade and perhaps revise admission criteria? I am also interested in the coed idea with or without boarding and with or without a merger. The committee has a tough job ahead. E. B. = Yes, we have many avenues to search for a viable Dana Hall.
We have many different stakeholders to consider. What mission will make a foundation for a better Dana Hall in the next hundred years? Time is short and the immediate future looks bleak. W. M. = It will take continuing discussion to determine the fate of Dana Hall. I will say that I am leaning toward some sort of coeducational condition for the school unless the committee can visualize and produce a plan that will pull us out of our deteriorating financial position. This will be a difficult change for the school but we cannot survive by doing what we have done in the past.
E. B. = I’m also thinking that coeducation will be the best plan for Dana Hall. Let’s meet again to further discuss this with the other mission committee members. I will have some more data and talk to the business manager of the school to get some hard numbers. Reference McFarlan, F. W. , Leonard, H. B. , & Tritter, M. (2006, January). Dana Hall: Funding a mission (A) (9-306-090). Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing. Retrieved from http://cb. hbsp. harvard. edu/cb/pl/7448354/7448300/3e2a0e9e56a9e19f5ae7ddb82f99edb6