Date of Award

5-1-2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Workforce Education and Development

First Advisor

Anderson, Marcia

Abstract

In an ever changing global economy, higher education experiences accountability issues in educating the workforce. Graduates require the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the global workplace. For graduates to have the opportunity to attain this understanding and expertise, it is critical to identify what influences curriculum development to create a curriculum that meets workplace needs. The purpose of this study was to contribute to a better understanding of curriculum development in higher education fashion merchandising programs. More specifically what impacts the curriculum and if skill standard(s) and/or competency list(s), are used when developing program-level curriculum for higher education fashion merchandising programs. Descriptive research examined the internal and external influences and standard(s) and/or competency list(s) used in curriculum development. Electronically, an invitation to participate and the survey instrument were sent to faculty in apparel and textile programs across the United States. Data were collected from 96 apparel and textile faculty. Data revealed internal influences, more so than external influences, impacted curriculum development in higher education fashion merchandising programs. The largest percentage and extent of internal influence on curriculum development in higher education fashion merchandising programs was faculty background; program mission was also a major internal influence. The largest percentage and extent of external influence on curriculum development in higher education fashion merchandising programs was marketplace/employers. No statistically significant relationship was found between the participants' type of institution (undergraduate and graduate granting) and internal and external influences. However, more research is called for to examine the specific internal influence of program mission and the external influence of marketplace/employers. Current curriculum influences, skill standard(s) and/or competency list(s) used, and type of institution were examined in this research study. The study proposes that the higher education fashion merchandising curriculum is influenced, in varying degrees, by internal and external influences and that skill standard(s) and/or competency list(s) from many sources are used in curriculum development. Undergraduate or graduate institutions were not differentially influenced by internal or external factors.

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