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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Exploring the disjunctures between theory and practice in community college visual arts programs
by Holland, Arnold, Ed.D., California State University, Fullerton, 2012, 199; 3535490
Abstract (Summary)

This study explored the perceptions of ten community college visual arts faculty in five different community college settings with regard to the theory and practice disjunctures they were experiencing in their roles as instructors teaching foundational level courses within visual arts programs. The study illuminated the responses of community college visual arts faculty involved in negotiating the demands of instructing and preparing students for success within multifaceted college missions. Through in-depth phenomenological interviews, visual arts faculty members shared their perspectives on matters surrounding theory to practice in teaching foundational courses. The research revealed faculty's impressions of teaching in community college visual arts programs, their preferences for learning materials, and their views of the socio-economic forces that were influencing their students.

Using hermeneutic phenomenology as the research methodology, six emergent themes were constructed reflecting specific disjunctures between theory and practice: (a) participants acknowledged a reluctance to apply arts-based theories; (b) visual arts faculty preferred career-oriented trade publications and web-based resources for instruction over textbooks and research-based journals; (c) faculty experienced negative perceptions about being community college instructors despite their effectiveness and passion for teaching; (d) diminished institutional funding for professional development inhibited faculty's exposure to and engagement with current research and theory in the visual arts; (e) participants supported statewide faculty-led curriculum reforms increasing the number of articulation agreements from two to four year programs; and (f) faculty concurred that their main instructional focus was preparing students for occupations and not for transfer to four-year universities whose visual arts programs addressed arts-based research and theory. A content analysis of programmatic curricular and instructional documents revealed discrepancies in course descriptions, course content, and student-learning objectives, which contributed to the construction of emergent themes.

The findings suggest the need to decrease the theory to practice disjunctures experienced by community college visual arts faculty. This would include an enhanced awareness of course and curriculum alignment, transfer opportunities, and the vocational mission of the community colleges. These changes are necessary to enhance faculty's efforts and goals to support of an increasingly diverse group of students' across the educational systems.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lee, Joyce
School: California State University, Fullerton
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 74/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Art education, Community college education
Keywords: Community colleges, Visual arts faculty
Publication Number: 3535490
ISBN: 978-1-267-86470-3
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