Character education at a historically Black institution

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Maude Emilye Mobley (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Deborah Taub

Abstract: As the profiles of colleges and universities have changed due to the influx of adult, international, and part-time students, institutions of higher learning have faced difficulties in developing students' character. With the diverse interests, schedules, needs, and backgrounds of today's students, maintaining personal contact with each student can be difficult. Dalton and Crosby (2006) recommended that institutions provide collegiate experiences that promote the values of honesty, fairness, compassion, and respect for others as a vehicle for teaching character. These scholars espoused that infusing these values in academic and co-curricular programs promotes principled reflection and decision-making. Employing a constructivist research paradigm, the purpose of this study was to understand how the environment for character education is established at a historically Black institution and how students experience it. This case study also examined the role of the president in establishing this climate and the encounters of a group of students related to character. By considering the perceptions and reflections of these students, educators can better understand how the in-class and out-of-class experiences of students influence their ethical growth and development. Institutional documents and speeches of the executive officer were analyzed, along with the transcripts of semi-structured and group interviews. There were a total of 20 student participants. Fourteen respondents were interviewed individually and six participated in a focus group. Results indicated that institutional mission and clearly communicated community standards influenced character development among participants. Courses, convocations, study abroad, and campus leadership were among the character building experiences discussed by informants. Additionally, students cited the president, staff, faculty, and fellow students as contributing to their ethical education. Findings suggest that character is not permanently engaged when students come to campus and that college experiences do influence the development of the value systems of students.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2010
Character Education, Historically Black Institutions, Values Education
Moral education (Higher) $z United States.
Moral development $z United States $v Case studies.
College students $z United States $v Conduct of life.
Character $x Study and teaching (Higher).
Responsibility $x Study and teaching (Higher).
Virtues $x Study and teaching (Higher).
African American $x Education (Higher).
African American universities and colleges.

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