ERIC Number: ED299934
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988
Reference Count: N/A
The Invisible Tapestry. Culture in American Colleges and Universities. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education, Report No. 1, 1988.
Kuh, George D.; Whitt, Elizabeth J.
The properties of institutional culture are identified, and the way cultural perspectives have been used to describe life in colleges and universities are examined. Seven sections cover the following: cultural perspectives (the warrant for the report, organizational rationality, the remaining sections); culture defined and described (toward a definition of culture, properties of culture, levels of culture); intellectual foundations of culture (anthropology, sociology); a framework for analyzing culture in higher education (the external environment, the institution, subcultures, individual actors); threads of institutional culture (historical roots and external influences, academic program, the personnel core, social environment, artifacts, distinctive themes, individual actors); institutional subcultures (faculty subculture, student culture, administrative subcultures); and implications of cultural perspectives (a summary of cultural properties, implications for practice, inquiry into culture in higher education). Techniques of inquiry appropriate for studying culture include observing participants, interviewing key informants, conducting autobiographical interviews, and analyzing documents. By viewing higher education institutions as cultural enterprises, it may be possible to learn how the college experience contributes to divisions of class, race, gender, and age within the institution as well as throughout society, how a college or university relates to its prospective, current, or former students, and how to deal more effectively with conflicts between competing interest groups. Contains over 340 references. (SM)
Descriptors: College Environment, College Faculty, College Students, Cultural Influences, Cultural Traits, Higher Education, Institutional Characteristics, Organizational Climate, Perspective Taking, Subcultures
Association for the Study of Higher Education, Dept. E, One Depont Circle, Suite 630, Washington, DC 20036-1183 ($12.00 members, $15.00 nonmembers).
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Association for the Study of Higher Education.; ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education, Washington, DC.