ERIC Number: ED478296
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2003-Apr-22
Student Activists in Higher Education: Exploring the Relationships between Perceptions of Culture and Change Strategies.
Ropers-Huilman, Becky; Carwile, Laura; Lee, Crystal; Barnett, Kathy
This study focused on how student activists' perceptions of institutional culture affect the nature and extent of their behaviors. Student activism was defined as more than just organizational involvement; instead, it implied involvement in and commitment to social change or social justice. Interviews were conducted with 26 student activists at a large public university. Student activists perceived the university to be operating within a political framework in a number of instances. Their perceptions of campus culture affected the ways they chose to participate. Students who viewed the campus culture as political were apt to attempt to form coalitions to "force" change. Those who saw the campus culture as bureaucratic were likely to seek formal positions to become a part of change. Students who saw the campus culture as primarily collegial trusted others to engage in dialogue, and those who say the culture as rational attempted to present reasonable arguments for change. Students' perceptions of campus culture depended on individual situations and individual arbiters of the culture. In this research, students seemed to believe that the most powerful arbiters were administrators. (Contains 25 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, April 21-25, 2003).