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ERIC Number: EJ1123836
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0316-1218
Theorizing College Governance across Epistemic Differences: Awareness Contexts of College Administrators and Faculty
Muzzin, Linda
Canadian Journal of Higher Education, v46 n3 p59-72 2016
Awareness contexts are useful concepts in symbolic interactionist research, which focusses on how everyday realities are constructed. To provide a fresh perspective on governance in Canada's colleges, I sorted vignettes in interview data collected from administrators and faculty into four types of contexts originally derived from observation of interaction between physicians and patients around bad news. These theoretical categories were introduced by Glaser and Strauss in their 1965 book "Awareness of Dying." Applying this lens revealed a "closed awareness" context around college fund-raising and a "mutual suspicion" context in administrator-faculty interaction around student success policy. Examples of "mutual pretense" included feigned administrator-faculty cooperation around changing college missions and faculty workload formulas. "Open awareness" or dialogue, however, occurred where professional bodies or unions intervened. Sorting by awareness contexts reveals similarities between doctor-patient and administrator-faculty interactions. For example, just as doctors feared that delivering bad news to patients might precipitate "mayhem" in the hospital, college administrators may fear that openness around divisive topics might precipitate "mayhem" in college management.
Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education. P.O. Box 34091, RPO Fort Richmond, Winnipeg, MB R3T 5T5, Canada. Tel: 204-474-6404; Fax: 204-474-7561; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A