Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology
The data used for the following thesis were collected from tape-recorded interviews of a sample of U.S.U. faculty, and from a course evaluation list which each of these participating faculty members were asked to fill out. Thirty-six faculty members were selected for the in-depth interviews, which was slightly more than five percent of the faculty. The study was done in conjunction with the Provost's General Education Evaluation Committee, as part of a larger evaluation of general education at U.S.U. Thirty-four of the U.S.U. professors were interviewed and 28 of these completed the course evaluation lists.
This thesis evaluates faculty conceptualizations of general education at three levels: the philosophic, the objective-oriented and the curricular. It also examines faculty interest in and satisfaction with the current U.S.U. program.
It was found that at the philosophic level of definition, there was almost complete consensus. Faculty members thought that general education should be a broadening experience, giving the student a general, well-rounded view of the world.
At the objective-oriented level, the respondents displayed considerable agreement as to the academic skills and areas in which students should show proficiency. The agreement was more complete, however, when the instructors were first presented with lists of these skills and areas, rather than asking them to identify them themselves. This seemed to indicate that the faculty members had not given a great deal of thought to general education objectives.
At the curricular level, two different general education philosophies were shown to exist. Broad fundamentalists felt that general education should be a basic sampling of all of the major areas of knowledge, while diverse specialization advocates reasoned that general education should involve proficiency in various specialized areas outside of the major. Thus, while broad fundamentalists recognized only lower-level courses with basic-sounding titles as fit for general education, diverse specialization advocates felt that almost any course had merit for general education, as long as it was outside of a student's major area. A residual group of respondents, labeled as independents, showed less tendency toward either mode of thought than those in the other two groups.
Faculty response overall displayed a preference for lower level classes for general education curriculum. As class level went up the ratings given the courses went down.
It was found that the faculty as a whole was not greatly interested in or even acquainted with general education at Utah State University. Faculty members become acquainted with the program mainly because of their advisory responsibilities. Faculty satisfaction with the program seemed noncommital, the disinterest in the program led many to be only mildly satisfied or mildly dissatisfied, or to have no opinion.
Gittins, Scott H., "An Assessment of Faculty Understanding and Attitudes Toward General Education at Utah State University" (1980). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 3393.
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