Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education and International Services

First Advisor

Lyndon G. Furst

Second Advisor

Larry D. Burton

Third Advisor

Douglas A. Jones



This study made the initial exploration of English major curricula among 101 members of the 2000-2001 Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), describing their nature and state and discerning evidence of Christian thought.


Stewart’s (1989) Modified Categories of English Majors and Eisner’s (1991) education criticism provided frameworks to categorize all curricula and to describe a purposeful sampling of 20 selected by region, religious, and enrollment.


Types 1.0 Straight Literature and 1.5 Primarily Literature majors represented 78% of the population and 75% of the sampling; Type 2.0 More Flexible majors represented 18% of the population and 25% of the sampling. The sampling found two structural models: the traditional tripod model (45%) and the core-and-periphery (55%). Types 1.0 and 1.5 emphasized American and English/ British literatures, Type 1.0 by genres, and Type 1.5 by surveys; Type 2.0 stressed those literatures, but proliferated writing electives.

Content weaknesses included the (a) lack of goals; (b) slighting of writing, composition, and rhetoric; and (c) imbalance of 300-level courses. Strengths included (a) offering literary criticism, (b) requiring capstone/seminars, and (c) increasing writing programs. Christian thought appeared in four course categories: (a) biblical content, (b) integration, (c) major authors associated with Christianity, 5th through 19th centuries, and (d) those associated during the 20th century. Milton, Chaucer, and C. S. Lewis dominated.


The aggregate CCCU English major curriculum appeared to be: 1. Dominated by literature, especially British/English and American literatures 2. Structured in the traditional tripod of literature, composition, and grammar, or in the core-and-periphery model 3. Utilitarian-oriented toward “helping professions,” teaching, and graduate studies 4. Static with minimized composition, writing, rhetoric, linguistics, and non- traditional literatures 5. Accommodating of writing electives 6. Preserving of field-coverage in upper-level literature courses and 7. British-Christian influenced, reflecting Christian ideas through British historical, cultural, white-male perspective(s).

Subject Area

Curriculum evaluation; English language--Study and teaching (Higher); English literature--Study and teaching (Higher); Council for Christian Colleges and Universities


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