ERIC Number: ED213338
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1981-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Human Knowledge and the Institution's Knowledge. Communication in Patterns and Retention in a Public University, Final Report (October 1, 1980 - December 31, 1981).
The high attrition rate of Alaska Native students at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, was evaluated as an example of the broader issue of the responsiveness of a large bureaucratic institution to an environmental population that is different from it in world view. It was found that the phrasing of the problem as a problem of retention was in itself a major means by which the institution limited its capacity to understand the issue. It was learned that the fundamental conflict was between what is called "the institution's knowledge" and "human knowledge." The institution's knowledge characterizes the relationships between individual members or clients that are governed by institutional considerations. Human knowledge characterizes the relationships between members or clients that are governed by human interpersonal considerations. By framing the problem as a problem of retention, the institution was incapable of perceiving the issue from the point of view of the Alaska Native students. As a further approach to indicate the difference between the two areas of knowledge, attention was directed to what students and faculty offered as explanations of behavior. It was found that Alaska Native students were skeptical regarding the use of analytical categories as explanations of behavior. It is suggested that this is a sophisticated view of a dimension of human behavior not attended to in Western behavioral and social sciences. Attention was also directed to conventions of expression and interpretation of the spoken and written word. Preliminary findings of a classroom experiment designed to increase the amount of human knowledge given to students about the teacher by himself are reported. Additional analysis and a bibliography are appended. (SW)
Descriptors: Alaska Natives, College Environment, College Students, Cultural Differences, Higher Education, Institutional Research, Interpersonal Relationship, Knowledge Level, Language Usage, Minority Groups, Psycholinguistics, Social Behavior, Sociolinguistics, Student Attitudes, Student Attrition, Student College Relationship, Student Teacher Relationship, Verbal Communication
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Alaska Univ., Fairbanks. Center for Cross-Cultural Studies.