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ERIC Number: ED576820
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 237
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-3697-5576-3
From "Thoughts and Prayers" to Practice: Narratives of Faculty Sensemaking during Campus-Carry Policy Enactment
Cradit, Nathaniel W.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University
The 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech is one part of a decades-long increase in the frequency of gun violence on U.S. college and university campuses (Drysdale, Modzeleski, & Simons, 2010; Ferraro, 2015). The events at Virginia Tech also served as a catalyst for the spread of so-called "campus-carry" laws, or acts of state policy which permit concealed firearms on postsecondary campuses (Aronowitz & Vaughn, 2013; Birnbaum, 2013; Grayson & Meilman, 2013). Despite opposition from the higher education sector, and evidence demonstrating that increasing the number of firearms in a public space increases the likelihood of future gun violence (e.g., Ayres & Donohue, 2003, 2009; Cummings et al., 1997; Duggan, 2001; Helland & Tabarrok, 2004; National Research Council, 2005), Texas became the eighth state to enact campus carry on August 1, 2016. As a relatively new policy area, limited empirical data exists regarding the effects of campus carry on higher education. This study's purpose was to identify whether the new campus-carry law in Texas had any educative influence upon the postsecondary learning environment by examining the ways faculty made sense of the new law before and during its enactment. Data were collected during the final three weeks of the fall, 2016 term at one university to explore whether and how the first semester of legal concealed weapons influenced faculty teaching and research decisions. 13 participants took part in narrative interviews, which were complemented by field observations and artifact analysis to more fully depict faculty life on an armed campus for the reader. Findings included evidence of changes occurring to faculty teaching decisions and student interaction behaviors on two sensemaking dimensions: a conscious-active response and a subconscious-reactive response. A conceptual model of faculty sensemaking in response to controversial state policy is included to depict the complex, nuanced process observed in the study. Through the campus-carry sensemaking response, this study provides what is believed to be the first known evidence to suggest campus-carry policy may influence faculty teaching and student interaction in ways that could be detrimental to student success and faculty academic freedom for those in the study. Implications for future researchers, policymakers, faculty, institutional leaders, and student affairs and administrative staff are also discussed. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas