The purpose of this article is to propose a new framework for analyzing undergraduate education in nontraditional faculties through consideration of the interrelationship between disciplines, faculty arrangement and curriculum. In contrast to traditional faculties, non-traditional faculties are grounded on competencies that they try to inculcate in their students, rather than introducing students to a single discipline. The emergence of these new non-traditional faculties demands a new perspective to understand the construction of undergraduate education.
This article takes three non-traditional faculties of humanities and social sciences in three national universities as case studies. All of them were reorganized after 2014, and differ enough to warrant a comparative study. Case studies were conducted in two ways. First, the faculty arrangement and curriculum of each case were analyzed quantitatively based on their official application forms for reorganization. In terms of faculty attributes, their majors and former affiliations were identified. On curriculum, the number of courses offered, the ratio of courses taught by freshly hired faculty, the ratio of compulsory courses, and the categories of compulsory courses were considered. Second, field surveys of the case study faculties were implemented to interpret the interrelationship between the different factors revealed through the quantitative analysis. Each case faculty was visited twice, and the interviewees contributed to understanding the mechanisms by which undergraduate education was constructed in their institution.
The two strands of analysis suggested that the curricula of non-traditional faculties were organized according to the interrelationship between disciplines, faculty arrangement and the curriculum itself. Although the idea of “degree programs” sometimes assumes that diploma policies one-sidedly determine curriculum, this study shows this is not necessarily the case even in non-traditional faculties.