Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Donna Talbot

Second Advisor

Dr. Andrea Beach

Third Advisor

Dr. Steven Lipkin


Film production, curriculum design, undergraduate, motion picture education


Nothing has impacted western society more than media. Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dali Lama, wrote that “film and television, newspapers, books and radio together have an influence over individuals that was unimagined a hundred years ago.” The responsibility of creating these cultural artifacts, particularly within motion picture production, is a delicate balance between artistic vision and craft-oriented vocation; the contemplative mind skills of a wise citizen with the functional hand skills of a tradesperson. Undergraduate film production education provides the best avenue for development of this duality. However, within these programs, little is known regarding how curriculum is fashioned and the type of decisions that affect film production education.

Curriculum designers from ten institutions were interviewed regarding the process of academic planning in order to uncover any grounded theory of design. Using Charmaz’ constructivist approach, emergent codes were identified for each institution and then clustered around common themes among all of the participants. This process revealed nine critical elements that had the greatest impact on the design process: departmental structure, location of the institution, institutional and departmental mission, liberal arts outcomes, industry trends, resources, student demand, technology, and faculty beliefs. Lattuca and Stark’s sociocultural model of curriculum design was used as a lens to establish a theoretical framework that describes the current state of the film curriculum design process. The case is made for recommended changes to the intentionality, consistency and accountability of film production curriculum.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access