The hidden tier : an analysis of the characteristics and viability of degree/major programs of geography in U.S. community colleges
Mowell, Barry Donald
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Geography is an important and relevant field of study that is worthy of inclusion and emphasis in all tiers of the educational system including the community college. The role of geography within the community college setting has not been adequately researched or addressed in the literature. In particular, very little is known about the characteristics of and role played by two-year degree programs in geography. This study examines the characteristics and role of geography degree/major programs in American community colleges. Qualitative and quantitative data were gathered from print and online sources, from a survey of eighteen of the forty-four known programs, and from follow-up interviews with survey respondents. Questions centered upon the programs’ goals, general characteristics, origins, viability, and the contribution they make within geography. Findings indicate that in-general the programs lack a clearly defined goal or mission, do not have significant numbers of majors or graduates, and do not appear to make any observable contribution to the field of geography. Rather than serving as a linkage connecting K-12 geography with the geography programs of universities, the community college programs are a largely disjointed and ineffectual tier of geographic education.
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