Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Jim Yankovich


The purpose of this research was to investigate the potential utilization of adventure education programs to provide an effective and innovative alternative for enhancing the college undergraduate experience. Initial research consisted of performing an indepth study of higher education's curriculum reform literature and studies and literature on adventure education programs. Specific components of the curriculum reform literature regarding character development were then correlated with attributes discovered in the adventure education literature. The interrelationship that developed provided a theoretical rationale from which to propose that adventure education programs could indeed address many of the objectives of the recommended curriculum.;The next step in the research was the implementation of a quasi experimental study designed to see if an adventure education program located in the traditional college curriculum was affecting the character of the students involved. Four character traits were targeted: responsibility, self-acceptance, socialization, and tolerance. The California Psychological Inventory was administered to the students during the first week of classes and again thirteen weeks later to detect changes. The scores were studied using the ANCOVA statistical method. None of the scores on the four personality scales were found to be significant at the.05 level. However, the sensitivity of the instrument to detect changes over such a short period of time was in question.;A qualitative questionnaire administered along with the posttest did reveal perceived changes in the character of the subjects. Confidence, responsibility, interpersonal or social skills. and risk taking were strongly perceived by the students as being positively affected by their participation in the adventure education course.;It was concluded that adventure education programs could provide an effective and innovative alternative for enhancing the college undergraduate experience. Adventure education programs, possibly more then any single incumbent program, have provided evidence in support of this claim. their implementation in the college curriculum should be considered.;Further study is needed in order to investigate the effectiveness of adventure programs in various settings in the college curriculum and in defining the specific components in the program that are responsible for positively affecting character development.



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