Date

3-2-2005

Department

School of Education

Degree

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Chair

Kathie C. Johnson

Primary Subject Area

Education, Curriculum and Instruction; Education, Home Economics; Home Economics

Keywords

curriculum, Family and Consumer Sciences, Higher education, history of home economics

Abstract

This study of undergraduate programs was undertaken to create a current portrait of Family and Consumer Sciences programs and to determine whether common ground exists among the various academic units particularly in the area of curriculum content. The thirty four schools having accreditation with SACS and AAFCS were chosen as the population to be studied. Two lists of curricular element categories were created to evaluate the programs: a 28 item list derived from historical categorizations used in professional journals and educational reporting and a 16 item list taken from the national standards for FCS in secondary programs. The subject matter categories or curricular elements were used to evaluate the course titles and course descriptions of a unit’s course catalog. Using a content analysis, curricular elements were identified as present or absent in the curriculum of the FCS units examined. Elements included in the curriculum of a majority of the FCS units were determined to constitute the common ground or knowledge base among FCS units.

The answer to the research question, “Are there common curricular elements that constitute a general consensus regarding the body of knowledge for Family and Consumer Sciences higher education programs,” is a definite “yes.” Specifically, 85% or more of the programs included child development, family studies, nutrition, clothing, foods, resource management, food service management, merchandising, early childhood education, human development, and textiles. Further, 70% or more of the programs also included education, equipment and furnishings, and housing. This high level of common offerings reflects the core of the FCS body of knowledge.

The significance of the study is that it contributes to the specific identity of the body of knowledge for FCS, it sets benchmarks for curriculum content in FCS undergraduate programs, and it reveals the low incidence of current curriculum offerings in the areas of FCS history, philosophy, and the integrative nature of the discipline. This study serves as a challenge to national leadership in the discipline to publish national standards for the body of knowledge that delineate clearly what constitutes a healthy undergraduate FCS program.

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