Student-perceived enrollment motivation and valuing of three types of visual arts courses selected to fulfill university general education requirements



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Texas Tech University


This study explored the extent to which contemporary social reconstruction theory existed in university general education art offerings in 1998. The researcher executed a content analysis of the 1995-1998 issues of the two journals. The Journal of Cross-cultural and Multicultural Research in Art Education and The Journal of Social Theory in Art Education, to define social theory from the authors' perspectives. The most common themes that emerged were: (a) pluralism and multiculturalism, (b) power relationships, (c) social reconstructive critical aesthetic theory, (d) critical theory applied to technology use, and (e) implementation strategies for social reconstruction. General education's traditional affiliation with democratic ideals supports these five social theory themes. However, catalog course descriptions and sample syllabi from 19 mid-sized, public universities only provided three examples of a social theory orientation in general education art offerings.

An analysis of survey responses from 449 non-art majors enrolled in general education art courses revealed that students will be more engaged in visual arts general education courses if course content emphasizes contemporary concerns and if instructors adhere to connected teaching strategies. The researcher applied descriptive statistical analysis and qualitative content analysis to survey data on student demographics, enrollment motivation, assessment of course value, attitudes toward making art, learning style, and suggestions for improvement.