Date of Graduation

8-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Higher Education (EdD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders

Advisor

Michael T. Miller

Committee Member

Daniel J. Pugh

Second Committee Member

Adam A. Morris

Keywords

Education, Artistic Engagement, Collegiate experiences, Student experiences, Theatre students

Abstract

The purpose for conducting the study was to describe the collegiate experience of performing arts students studying theatre in a comprehensive university setting through a qualitative examination of the perceptions that theatre students hold regarding their interactions with faculty, students, administrators, and the college campus. The study was guided by an ethnographic design identifying the sample of theatre students as a culture sharing group engaged in the formal study of theatre in a university setting. The significance of the study rested in its identification of theatre students as a student subpopulation in need of further study aimed at providing a narrative that might aid in improving the overall experience of theatre students as well as contribute to the existing dialogue regarding the benefits of artistic engagement in higher education. The results of the study revealed a positive student perception of interactions with theatre faculty accompanied by an inconsistent perception of interactions with non-theatre faculty; a limited positive perception of administrative support for the theatre program; a strong preference for teaching and learning styles utilized and inspired by creative course content and structure regularly employed by theatre faculty; a perception of physical and Social isolation from the campus resulting from the demanding time commitment required of students majoring in theatre; and a positive perception of interactions with other students resulting in ample opportunity to engage in the typical college experience although the theatre student's Social circle is clearly dominated by other theatre students.

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