The Role of Faculty in Undergraduate Curricular Development: An Exploration of Influences and Ways of Knowing from Departmental Chairs and Directors
Trudeau, Michelle M.
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At most American universities, faculty hold curricular authority and are responsible for undergraduate degree requirements, but the literature review revealed little from the faculty perspective. This dissertation research focused on the faculty perspective on undergraduate curricular development by conducting eighteen semi-structured interviews of chairs and directors from eleven different departments that completed significant curricular changes from 2005 to 2011 at a large undergraduate college in a Research Extensive University. Departmental chairs and directors were chosen since they hold final signatory authority on curricula for their department, and are in faculty leadership positions. This research identified similarities in the faculty chair experience at this university, regardless of field or background. It was found that their experience from the leadership responsibility for curricula was the main contributor to their knowledge about curricular development, and they often referenced other programs for models. They cited that the main influence on curricular change was the budgetary system and monetary resources of the university, and barriers to change were the inertia of the faculty and processing time. Other significant findings were: the use of professional advising staff as a resource; the importance of collegiality and consensus among the faculty to enact curricular change; and the influence students, program size, and professional societies had on curricula.
- Education - Seattle