Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hillary Jean Hodges completes dissertation in the School of Educational Leadership and Change

An Integrated Business and Technology Curriculum: Oil and Water? -- Hillary Jean Hodges

Hillary Jean Hodges is an adjunct instructor at both Career Academy and Wayland Baptist University in Anchorage, AK. 

Technology in every form has become an important part of everyday life. In business, it is a necessity for success and survival. Many authors (Kotrlik & Redman, 2009; Ma & Runyon, among others) in the arena of higher education have pointed out the need for truly integrated business and technology programs at the graduate level, but generally lacked solutions or means of implementation. Using as a basis a study by Durlabhji and Fusilier (2002), who examined this type of integration, this study was undertaken to determine if integrated programs still exist, and if not, whether one could be developed and accepted by the faculty who may teach it.

For this dissertation, a survey was conducted on-line, including faculty from both the business and technology disciplines (n = 44) at the schools used in Durlabhji and Fusilier’s (2002) study. This survey was crafted to ascertain what the content of this curriculum might be, and whether or not this type of integration is possible at this time. Questions were included about the respondents’ current program, and the future employability of graduates of an integrated program.

Initially, the aim of this study was to create this curriculum; however, it became clear that before this can occur, a major paradigm shift must happen at all levels within higher education institutions. The respondents to the survey agreed that integration of this type is needed, but did not appear to believe that it could be accepted. They expressed a general sense of disdain for their academic world, including the ability of their students to perform in such programs, or to attain employment after graduation.

Ultimately, this study provides a look into the attitudes of some faculty toward the integration of business and technology curricula. It also uncovers a growing daily frustration on the part of faculty who are simply trying to do their jobs. The results definitely explain the lack of solutions in the existing literature to the problem of how to make integration happen and succeed.

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