General education in Texas: From coordinating board to campus, perspectives

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The purpose of this dissertation was to investigate the phenomenon of general education in four Texas public higher education institutions and to determine if the legislated requirements, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board core curriculum requirements, were consistent among the institutions in the selected arena. The focus was on four public higher education institutions' fulfillment of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s core curriculum requirements. The institutions were selected based on Carnegie classifications. The schools were representative of the following: community college, regional school, emerging university, and state flagship. This research study used qualitative methodology. The study used the following sources for investigation: legislation, documents from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and institution catalogs. To a limited extent, documents from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools were used. Additionally, data were collected via interviews. Those interviewed were responsible in some way for core curriculum at each institution. While catalogs were readily available, they presented only one translation or interpretation of the core curriculum at an institution. Interviews offered a venue to determine not just the theory (or philosophy) regarding general education, but the underlying practices, procedures, and attitudes related to the phenomenon of general education. The data collection was completed in spring 2011. By using a combination of data, general education in Texas was studied from perspectives beginning with the intent of the core curriculum (as relayed by the THECB and catalogs) to the perspectives of the four public institutions (via the catalogs and the interviews). Once the core curriculum was investigated via the case studies, a comparison of general education from the cases was conducted. This was done in an attempt to determine if the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board requirements were consistent among the public institutions as part of the general education curriculum. Data were used to answer the research questions and to proffer some generalizations about the status of the phenomenon of general education in public Texas higher education institutions. The findings indicated that while consistencies existed, so did inconsistencies.

Education, higher, General education, Core curriculum, Education curricula, Teaching, Texas