Term of Award

Summer 2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Meca Williams-Johnson

Committee Member 1

John Weaver

Committee Member 2

Elwin Tilson

Committee Member 3

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 3 Email



This mixed methods inquiry explored how liberal and health professions faculty at one University perceived each College and the relationship between faculties in each of their Colleges. Three faculty members from each of these Colleges were interviewed individually and they then participated in a focus group, discussing prompt statements created from the transcripts of the interviews. The transcripts of the interviews and the focus group were then used to construct a web-based survey that was offered to faculty in both Colleges. Seventy percent of faculty completed the survey. Qualitative and quantitative data clustered into five main themes: 1) faculty largely agree on the purposes and goals of higher education; 2) faculty agree that liberal and professional education are both important; 3) liberal arts faculty don't understand health professions education; 4) there are issues of respect for both liberal and health professions faculty; and, 5) some faculty, especially health professions faculty, were aware of tension between faculty in the two Colleges. Analysis suggested that inadequate communication seems to exist at the intersections between these themes. The importance of the core is not communicated clearly to students or many faculty (especially those in the health professions) and so it is difficult for students and faculty to value the core curriculum The nature of health professions education is unclear to liberal education faculty and, though they agree that it is important, they don't really know enough about these disciplines, content or faculty preparation to be truly respectful. Liberal education faculty perceives that neither the institution nor the health professions faculty really understand the importance of what they provide, either. Tension is generated at the intersection between Colleges, but perceptions of this tension vary within and between Colleges. Respondents agreed that faculty need to reflect and converse more about issues in higher education, and perhaps multidisciplinary communication and collaboration is the key to improving how health professions students integrate liberal education into their personal as well as their professional lives.

Research Data and Supplementary Material