An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Design and Implementation of a University-oriented Internal Communications Strategy for a Bachelor of General Studies Degree Program

Journal: Journal of Higher Education Research DOI: 10.32629/jher.v2i2.293

Devon Cadwell Bazata, Thomas Dwight Cox, David Boote

University of Central Florida


Leading an interdisciplinary program change is challenging. Effectively communicating those changes across a University brings additional challenges associated with organizational and cultural differences across administrative and academic units. This design-based research study used exploratory sequential mixed methods to develop a strategic internal communication plan for a new Bachelor of General Studies degree. Data included interviews with four university administrators and faculty who were involved in the development of the BGS degree program followed by a survey completed by 161 staff and faculty advisors and administrators outside of the program. Interview and survey results were interpreted using sociocultural learning, co-orientation theory, and a two-way symmetrical model of communication. Findings emphasize the importance of cultural differences across administrative and academic units: collectivism (community), professionalism (cooperation and trust), balanced power-distance (student-centered learning balanced with the expertise and authority of the faculty), pragmatism (practical results and blunt pragmatic communication style), and a results-oriented approach. The results were used to design an internal marketing plan that promotes sociocultural learning across cultural differences within the university and reciprocal exchange of information among undergraduate faculty and advisors.


higher education, organizational culture, communication, general studies, sociocultural learning


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