Date of Award

10-2006

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Degree Program

Global Leadership - with a specialization in Educational Leadership

Department

College of Education

First Advisor

William J. Leary

Second Advisor

John Cipolla

Third Advisor

Carole Warshaw

Abstract

The literature shows that there are many studies about Buddhism in the United States and religion on college campuses, but few studies specifically about Buddhism in American universities. The purpose of this study is to explore how American college students approach and learn about Buddhism. A qualitative research study of clinical ethnography was applied to conduct this study at the Florida International University (FIU) and Florida Buddhist Association (FBA). FBA was chosen to compare with FIU so that the features of Buddhist education at FIU would be clearer.

Eight students and four teachers (instructors) were interviewed at FIU; and two teachers and four members of the Buddhist association were interviewed at FBA. The researcher attended all possible scheduled lectures and activities over several weeks at FIU and FBA. Trustworthiness, which can be specified into confirmability, credibility, dependability, and transferability, was utilized to explain the validity and reliability in this qualitative study.

The findings were presented with eight themes: (1) aim, (2) teacher, (3) student, (4) content, (5) environment, (6) evaluation, (7) experience of Buddhism, and (8) points of view. The study examines how people in American universities evaluate their Buddhism-learning situations and environments, and how they think about topics related to Buddhism. A quantitative study should be conducted with a larger sample, to expand the various viewpoints of other Buddhism learners.

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