George Mason University 1997-98 Catalog Catalog Index
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Master in New Professional Studies Courses (MNPS)

University Programs

700 The New Professionalism: Theory and Practice (3:3:0). An experiential exploration of contemporary and relevant ethical theories and their diverse applications to the professional studies field. This course examines issues such as the ethical relationship between the professionals and clients, ethical accountability and responsibility, the ethos of institutions, and the professional's role in sustaining ethical standards. Philosophical and pedagogical assumptions made by the individual in understanding professional management issues and the social and individual purposes of being a professional are examined reflectively against a broad range of philosophical, social, political, and economic imperatives affecting many organizations.

702 The New Professional as Reflective Practitioner (3:3:0). The changes in organization identity and understanding are epistemological, as well as structural and ethical. This course identifies the central problems in epistemology, and examines how an epistemology appropriate to professional practice may be constructed, what is meant by the notion of "ways of knowing" and the "reflective practitioner," and the implications for professional learning. The core issues of generalizability, objective knowledge and understanding, the nature of evidence, truth, and meaning, and how they affect the nature of organizational reality and the professional's practice are studied. Special attention is given to developing the skills for "double-loop learning" and reflection in professional lives (e.g., through journals, narrative autobiography, and imaginative literature).

703 Technology and Learning in the New Professions (3:3:0). Although various technological modes are used throughout the program (e.g., teacher-student, student-student contact via electronic mail), specific teaching in this core course provides for the development of software tools aimed at facilitating collaborative work, such as Lotus Notes, Folio Views, and the Virtual Notebook system. Specifically, the enormous potential for enhancing the way organizations, not merely professionals, can learn, notably through the development of Internet literacy, and the skills in using differing Internet navigation tools are examined in detail. The course is rooted in applying technology to real-world problems in different professional work-sites, offering in-depth training in the use and the development of groupware applications. In all other courses, there will be requirements for the use of technology in learning.

704 Research Methodologies in the New Professionalism (3:3:0). In the social sciences and specifically in the field of professional studies, a positivist epistemology with its implications for the application of methodologies drawn from the physical and natural sciences has proved inadequate. From anthropology, sociology, and other disciplines, a "thick" understanding of what is needed to create a better praxis can be created. Kurt Lewin, for example, dubbed his methodological invention "action research," arguing that "there is nothing so practical as a good theory." Lewin called for a form of research that starts with the participants describing reality as they see it, reflecting on it, and deriving theories and learning that are immediately applicable to concrete situations. This course concentrates on understanding and using research methodologies from such varied sources as Friere, McKeon, and Janowitz, with a practical team activity in which students will study an organization or aspects of it, using ethnography, field study, or any appropriately defensible research methodology.

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