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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Fred Muskal

First Committee Member

Lynn Beck

Second Committee Member

Norena Badway

Third Committee Member

Robert Benedetti


Faculty in higher education overtly teach content and skills to their students in their courses. However, faculty teach and demonstrate a tacit curriculum in their interactions with their students as well. This study examined how faculty believe they articulate and personally demonstrate these tacit goals and objectives to their students. This study examined the interview responses of ten female university English instructors. The faculty were questioned regarding the values, moral principles, ethical standards, and academic goals that they believe they demonstrate and enforce among their students. In addition, faculty were asked if they believed if the elements changed over time as faculty gained teaching experience or if they changed according to the students' academic rank. As the data from this study was coded, a grounded theory of the tacit curriculum in higher education emerged. This grounded theory can best be seen as a developmental model through which female English Department faculty progress as they gain classroom teaching experience. Faculty in this study progressed through three stages in their development as teachers; Show-Off Lecturer, Audience Respecter, and Mentor/Teacher, and developed a tacit curriculum as they gained teaching experience. These stages correspond with movement from novice to expert status in teaching. The presence of this developmental model lends credence to the phenomenological model of human learning developed by Hubert and Stuart Dreyfus and supports Polanyi's concepts of the personal and tacit dimensions of human knowing. This responses in this study indicate that as faculty develop teaching skill, they also develop tacit moral aims to their teaching. It is unclear if the development of these moral aims are deferred until tenure is obtained or if the process of their development just takes about the same time as the tenure process. In addition, while there is no way to exclude all other influencing factors in the faculty member's lives, the data in this study suggests that experience is central in the development of the faculty's tacit moral curriculum.





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