Online from: 2000
Subject Area: Education
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|Title:||US higher education environmental program managers' perspectives on curriculum design and core competencies: Implications for sustainability as a guiding framework|
|Author(s):||Shirley Vincent, (Environmental Science Graduate Program, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA), Will Focht, (Environmental Science Graduate Program, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA)|
|Citation:||Shirley Vincent, Will Focht, (2009) "US higher education environmental program managers' perspectives on curriculum design and core competencies: Implications for sustainability as a guiding framework", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 10 Iss: 2, pp.164 - 183|
|Keywords:||Competencies, Curriculum development, Education, Environmental management, Higher education, Sustainability development, United States of America|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/14676370910945963 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Acknowledgements:||The authors thank the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors of the National Council for Science and the Environment, and the Institute for Sustainable Environments at Oklahoma State University, for funding this study. The authors also thank the environmental program managers who participated in the study for their cooperation and effort in completing our survey and participating in the Q sorting exercise.|
Purpose – This study is the first of a five-phase research project sponsored by the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD), an organization of environmental program managers operating under the umbrella of the National Council for Science and the Environment. The purpose of the project is to determine if a consensus on core competencies for environmental program graduates is achievable, and if so, to make recommendations for consideration by program managers.
Design/methodology/approach – Q methodology was used to discern the perspectives of program managers at 42 CEDD member institutions on environmental curriculum design. An online survey preceded the Q sort exercise to elicit managers' curricular views and program characteristics. Survey responses were analyzed to select statements for the Q-sorting exercise and categorized according to emergent themes. Multiple regression analysis was used to explore the relationship between perspectives (factor loadings) and host institution Carnegie classifications.
Findings – Three distinct, but not opposing, perspectives were identified from the initial Q-factor rotation, which suggests the possibility of agreement on core competencies. The perspectives differ in their views of: curriculum orientation (professional training versus liberal arts), curriculum breadth versus depth, and flexible versus fixed core competencies. Host institution classification (Carnegie) is a small but significant predictor for two of the three perspectives. A second Q-factor rotation reveals a consensus perspective that accommodates most respondents and aligns well with principles of sustainability, thus suggesting that sustainability may serve as a guiding paradigm for defining areas of core competence.
Originality/value – No national study of program managers' views of curriculum design and the identification of core competencies has been conducted in the USA.
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