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General Education in Health Science-focused Institutions: An Explanatory Mixed Methods Study

Peggy Rosario, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to describe the structure of general education curricula at baccalaureate colleges of health science in relationship to Bergquist's Career-Based Model of curriculum. Using an explanatory sequential mixed methods approach, the model was tested by examining whether the curricula were both prescriptive and specific. First, the researcher analyzed how prescriptive the general education curricula at 38 colleges of health science were by evaluating the institutions' catalogs and websites. In the second, qualitative phase, the researcher interviewed general education leaders at six of the colleges to confirm the quantitative data and obtain information about how specific the general education curricula were to healthcare. ^ The quantitative findings supported Bergquist's model that colleges of health science have a prescriptive curriculum with 71% of the colleges having a core, major-dominated or mixed model with a primary component of core or major-dominated. In addition, the number of required general education credits and the proportion of required math and science credits were higher than data from most national studies for other types of colleges. The interviews confirmed that general education is strongly prescriptive at colleges of health science rather than elective. The interviews also demonstrated that some colleges have a distribution model where students take a limited number of offerings in selected categories, but that the major program requirements dictate the courses students in each major must take within the distribution categories. Implemented this way, even the distribution model was prescriptive. These findings also supported Bergquist's model by illustrating how specific the general education course content was to healthcare. These research findings contribute to the body of knowledge about general education and colleges of health science, mixed methods research, and Bergquist's model. The study is also helpful to faculty and administrators at colleges of health science and other specialized colleges and accreditation personnel interested in understanding general education curricula.^

Subject Area

Education, Higher Education Administration|Health Sciences, General|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Rosario, Peggy, "General Education in Health Science-focused Institutions: An Explanatory Mixed Methods Study" (2012). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3546324.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3546324

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