Author(s)

Rihab Saadeddine

Date Approved

3-8-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership

Department

Educational Leadership

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Houshmand, Ali

Subject(s)

Education--Curricula

Disciplines

Higher Education Administration

Abstract

Higher education institutions should offer students an enriching learning experience that fosters their academic competencies, professional skills, civic responsibility, and global preparedness (AACTE, 2010; AAC&U, 2007). Colleges and universities have been criticized for not adequately preparing students academically and professionally. They are urged to assess and improve their general education programs to provide quality education and meet the needs of 21st century students (AACTE, 2010; AAC&U, 2007; Boning, 2007; Rhodes, 2010). This study utilized a sequential explanatory mixed methods research design to indirectly assess the general education program through students' perceptions. It was designed to explore the differences in perceptions among undergraduate students of the general education program and their undergraduate learning experiences. My findings indicated that students underscored the importance of clear communication, good teaching, high quality interactions, application of knowledge, and rigorous curriculum in their undergraduate experience. The university could explore effective practices that allow students to apply what they learned in real life applications. It could better articulate the general education goals and learning outcomes to its students. Furthermore, it could provide a supportive system for transfer students and work with community colleges to facilitate credit transfer. Finally, the university should integrate the specialized, professional, and general education programs into students' undergraduate experience to better prepare them for life, citizenship, and career.

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