The Role of Public Relations during the Implementation of New General Education Curricula
Matthiessen, Alison Ruth Cordell
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"Awful" and "worthless" are some words used by students to describe the general education curriculum at Virginia Tech. Currently, the university is about to implement a revised curriculum, in part, to make it more relevant to students. Virginia Tech isn't alone in general education reform; around 90 percent of higher education institutions are in the process of assessing or modifying their curriculum. Beyond making general education more relevant to students, colleges and universities are feeling pressure to bring out of date curricula up to 21st century standards, with best practices being guided by external agencies such as the Association of American Colleges and Universities. With a new general education curriculum to be implemented at Virginia Tech, there is a need for a strategic and clear approach to communication to avoid confusion while also highlighting the benefits of the new curriculum. Research into change management, change communication, and public relations can inform this type of plan; however, the unique organizational structure of higher education institutions must be considered. This study seeks to bring those bodies of research together. Using a grounded theory approach, this case study analyzes the general education reform processes at three universities that have revised and implemented a new general education curriculum recently.
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