The survey results indicate that both Great Books and INT students generally agree that the Great Books Program should update its curriculum. 100% of GBK students and 81% of INT students surveyed responded that they believe the Great Books Program would benefit from offering a more diverse reading list with authors from a variety of cultures. Likewise, of the students enrolled in GBK 305.002 or 003, a GBK class with a more diverse reading list than the official curriculum, 100% of the surveyed students stated that they felt the diverse reading list offered in that course enhanced their experience in the program.
Enrollment and Retention
100% of GBK students surveyed stated that they would not have enrolled in INT instead of GBK if the Great Books Program had had a more diverse reading list. 15% added that they would have been even more enthusiastic to join the program if it had a more diverse reading list.
Many INT students highlighted that they chose the INT Program because they have AP credits that lessen the amount of classes they need to take or because the unique, reading-intensive program did not appeal to them. However, 45% stated that they might have or definitely would have considered joining GBK and not INT if the Great Books program had a more diverse reading list.
Therefore, not only would a more diverse reading list improve program retention and satisfaction among students already enrolled, it would also allow the program to appeal to a wider range of students. While diversifying the curriculum may not have an immediate impact on increasing enrollment in the program, it will ensure the program’s future success.
How can we use this data?
Great Books is unique in that it is student-focused and student-driven. However, only 60% of GBK students responded that they believed Mercer's Great Books Program fulfilled its stated purpose. Furthermore, as discussed in the sections above, Great Books and INT students alike are highly critical of the program’s limited focus. This data therefore indicates that for the Great Books Program to satisfy the academic desires of its students, it must implement a more diverse curriculum. See the next section, "Proposed Solutions," for ideas about how to do so.
Future Areas of Study
Unfortunately, due to limited responses from students, especially in the GBK 305.002 and 003 courses, these survey results are not as conclusive as they could be. The limitations of the current pandemic further limited my ability to speak directly to Great Books and INT students, as I originally planned to. To truly assess the attitudes of Mercer students, I believe it is necessary to expand the scope of this survey to include a larger group of students.