Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

12-2015

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Communication

Degree Program

Communication, MA

Committee Chair

Futrell, Allan

Committee Member

Freberg, Karen

Committee Member

Greenwell, T. Christopher

Author's Keywords

symbolic convergence theory; rhetorical vision; interdisciplinary

Abstract

Interdisciplinary studies is a goal for the University of Louisville as it pertains to the Vision 2020 Plan. Implementing interdisciplinary studies is a part of Educational Excellence, goal number one of five strategic goals in the Vision 2020. Each of the colleges at the university has devised a strategic plan to determine how each will contribute to that goal. This specific research provides an overview of various issues pertaining to implementing programs in interdisciplinary studies. It then explores a specific instance of interdisciplinary possibilities by focusing on a single instance of what might become an exemplar of interdisciplinary studies. Specifically, it assesses the feasibility of creating a joint degree program between the departments of Sport Administration and Communication. Unlike previous analyses of potential interdisciplinary partners, however, this project takes a communicative perspective. The Symbolic Convergence Theory, sometimes referred to as Fantasy Theme Analysis, serves as the underlying theoretical framework for analyzing the processes, messaging, and collaboration needed to create the common vision that can enable these two disciplines to mesh. Part and parcel of the approach is the nature of the data, which in this case consists of comments made during a focus group with current students from the two departments. Student comments, combined with educational and pedagogical research based insight, make for a unique method for establishing an interdisciplinary program.

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