Date of Award

1997

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Michael F. Burnett

Abstract

This study determined appropriate evaluands for a College of Agriculture based on the perceptions of two shareholder groups of the college, the faculty and undergraduate students. Student opinions about their college experiences appeared related to the goals and influences that prompted them to attend college. These goals and influences determined what they expected from their college experience. There were three parts to the study; a pilot study, an undergraduate student study and a faculty study. Undergraduate students were classified based on two break points, gender and nontraditional/traditional student status. There were four focus groups conducted for the study and fourteen student interviews. For the faculty study, twelve faculty interviews were conducted. Student satisfaction with their college experience developed from two factors, goals and ontologies. Goals were of two types, less-defined goals and well-defined goals. Less-defined goals included societal reasons and general employment requirements. Well-defined goals included a need for personal growth, preparation for employment and a strong interest in the subject. There were two ontologies that affected how students felt about their college experiences, "college as a game" and "college as a partnership". In both ontologies, an intermediate objective was to gain information that would help the student reach their particular goal. In "college as a partnership", primary information sources were personal interactions, advising, and student organizations. In "college as a game", primary information sources were, peers, graduate students and other social groups. The common mechanism for obtaining information in both ontologies was through personal interactions with faculty, administrators and students. Regardless of age, student participants who were parents were more similar to other students with family obligations than they were to other individuals their own age and gender who were not parents. Numerous faculty themes were identified. Some terms such as diversity, good teaching, thinking skills had multiple meanings for students and faculty. Certain themes were important for both students and faculty and were related to other themes in the study. The resulting eight primary evaluands were: influences on college attendance, goals, ontologies, personal interactions, diversity, good teaching, thinking skills and communication skills.

ISBN

9780591458879

Pages

550

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