Valuing Post-Secondary Education in Newfoundland and Labrador: A Comparison of Rural Women Studying Liberal Arts at Memorial University and the Provincial White Paper
I conducted an ethnographically informed textual analysis of eight semi-structured interviews with women from rural Newfoundland and Labrador who study in the Faculty of Arts at MUN, and compared data from these interviews with the Provincial Government’s White Paper on Public Post-Secondary Education.
The purpose of the project was to find out about the significance of post-secondary education for women from rural Newfoundland and Labrador enrolled in a Liberal Arts discipline. The research aimed to explore ways in which growing up as women from rural Newfoundland shaped the decision to enroll and the meaning ascribed to these decisions. I wanted to compare these findings with how Government conceptualizes the value of post-secondary education for the purposes of policy development.
The main preliminary result is that women who come from rural Newfoundland and Labrador to undertake an undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts do so for a variety of complex reasons having to do with the opportunities they perceive to be available to them in relation to their sense of identity and place. This is in contrast with Government conceptualizations of the value of post-secondary education, which is seen in economic terms, i.e., a means to employment.