Term of Award

Summer 2002

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

William M. Reynolds

Committee Member 1

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 2

John Weaver

Committee Member 3

Angela Crow


No One Left Behind... For the Most Part: Developmental Education in the Academy and Society is an examination of the beginnings, life and termination of a developmental education program at Georgia Southern University (GSU) from 1974-2001 and the societal, historical, and economic forces that shaped, defined, and eventually led to the elimination of the program. This study looks into the history of not only the GSU program, but also developmental education within the state of Georgia and throughout the nation, which at one time or another has been considered by members of the academic community to be a moral imperative and a destructive influence, a necessity and an embarrassment, and more recently a cost effective alternative and a fiscal liability.

The uneasy relationship that developmental education shares with the academy, even though it has been part of the nation's colleges and universities virtually since their inception, demonstrates the socially created stigmas and prejudices that these programs have been subject to. Economically, as the corporate model is more often applied to academic decision making, developmental education is judged more by its earning potential than by its pedagogical effectiveness. The developmental student is more subject to administrative and legislative bottom-line decision making than considerations of the moral imperatives at the heart of open access and other policies friendly to minority and marginalized groups. Often these students are subject to labeling with reductionist terms and other forms of marginalization which tend to erase individuality and homogenize developmental education students into a societally created stereotype. The beginnings, life, and eventual termination of GSU's developmental education program amply demonstrate both how academic and public perception of developmental education has been molded by societal, economic, and historical influences and also suggests an uncertain future for this pedagogically effective but socially stigmatized academic practice.


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