School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Barry Dotson

Primary Subject Area

Education, General


Creativity, Higher Education, Creativity Theory, University Student Perceptions, Creative Self-concept


Arts and Humanities | Education


The purpose of this qualitative single instrumental case study was to describe the perceptions and experiences of creativity by university students at a mid-size public university located in the Mid-Atlantic States of the U.S. The theory guiding this study was Amabile’s componential theory of creativity which views creativity as a complex interrelationship of creative disposition, process, product, and social environment. The question, “How do U.S. higher education students perceive and experience creativity within the university environment?”, was explored. Student interviews, documentation, and focus group responses were analyzed using member checks, linguistic and affective coding, and key quotes and themes. Findings revealed the following: (1) university students had difficulty defining creativity (2) students perceived themselves as innately creative individuals, above average in creative abilities regardless of student major (3) university faculty, peers, and programs were highly instrumental, albeit not essential, to fostering creative growth. To cultivate student creativity, a future-oriented university should teach students about the construct of creativity, find ways to encourage participation in extracurricular programs, and listen continually to student ideas for improving their institution.