Architectural education is a time-intensive endeavor, typically resulting in a high number of student dropouts. In an effort to address better matriculation, faculty in an architecture and interior design program instituted course redesigns for an introductory lecture course within the undergraduate curriculum over the course of two academic years. This resulted in significant changes to the course structure and the course content, as well as to adjacent courses within the first-year curriculum. Through the implementation of the course redesigns, researchers realized that the process of redesign resembles the process of action research. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate how action research can apply to course redesign in higher education. The research questions that guided this study were: (1) How is action research applied to redesign an architecture and interior design program? and (2) What does course redesign as action research look like within a course setting in higher education? This article strives to make clear the connection between course redesign and action research by organizing the course redesigns into an integrated action research model. The implications and discussion based on the research findings will also be provided for applying action research to redesign courses in higher education.


: Course Redesign, Action Research, Higher Education, Curriculum Development, Architectural Education

Author Bio(s)

Jennifer Barker is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Memphis. She received the professional Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2005 and the post-professional Master of Architecture from the University of Memphis in 2010. In her research, she explores the curricular structure of architectural education, and seeks to understand the critical, reflective, and narrative role of social implications of design. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: jlbrker1@memphis.edu.

Mitsunori Misawa, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor and Associate Department Head of the Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He is the former Director of the Center for the Studies of Higher Education at the University of Memphis. Dr. Misawa received his Ph.D. in Adult Education and an Interdisciplinary Qualitative Studies Graduate Certificate from the University of Georgia in 2009. He also received his M.Ed. in Adult Education (Curriculum and Instruction) in 2004 and his B.A. in Economics (International Business and Trade) in 2002 from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Dr. Misawa’s major areas of research center on social justice and encompass the intersectionality of race, gender, and sexual orientation, academic and workplace bullying, policy and leadership studies, program evaluation, human resource and organizational development, and social sciences research methodologies (qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods). His scholarship has been widely published and is well recognized by national and international scholarly communities. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: mmisawa@utk.edu.

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