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Wu, "An assessment of general education requirements in Taiwanese higher education," 2000

USC Dissertation in Education.
August 24, 2009

Mei-Jiun Wu, Ph.D.

Abstract (Summary)
One of the most radical changes in Taiwanese higher education was the introduction of the "General Education (GE)" requirement in 1983, obligating students to take 4-6 units outside of their specialization. Several revisions have been made to the GE system, but a comprehensive study documenting all 78 higher educational institutions' current GE curriculum has been lacking. This study analyzed patterns of the goals, contents, curriculum design, and administration of the current GE in Taiwan by replicating the 4 C's concepts of Gaff (1991): Content, Cohesion, Commonality, and Comprehensiveness.

This was an inductive study where both document and content analyses were applied. The research designs of Gaff (1991) and Toombs et al. (1991) were employed in the study. The chief sources of materials were the unpublished GE documents of all 78 institutions. From the perspective of content , this study identified and categorized the most commonly referenced goals of GE, "breadth" and "distribution." It also assessed the content of the current GE curriculum by area of study and discovered that GE courses were largely concentrated in four disciplines--humanities, social sciences, physical education, and foreign languages. In the cohesion perspective, the proportions of core and GE components of undergraduate curriculum of various majors were first analyzed. On average, the proportion of core was 2.5 to 3 times larger than the GE component.

Few variations were observed in the distributions of GE requirements among different areas of study and various types of schools when commonality was concerned. For the comprehensiveness perspective, there were four distinctive models identifiable in the administration of GE: the Institutional Wide Committee, Center for GE, Department of GE, and Curriculum Section in Department of Academic Affairs. Center for GE is the most prevalent type. The ratio of full-time to part-time GE faculty was found approximately 2:1 in all areas of study. When evaluating the qualifications of GE faculty, a high percentage was found in the ranks of Professors, Associate Professors, Assistant Professors, or Instructors.

Advisor: Lee, William B.