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  5. University Confidential: How faculty members engage in sensemaking AND social capital and role conflict among Deans

University Confidential: How faculty members engage in sensemaking AND social capital and role conflict among Deans

Education Webinar 2023

The Canadian Association of Sociology of Education (CASE) and Canadian Sociological Association (CSA) Sociology of Education Research Cluster are pleased to present this webinar recorded on November 23, 2023.

Watch the recorded webinar

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Presentation 1: Making Sense of Experiential Education: The Four Lenses of Faculty Sensemaking

Emerson LaCroix - PhD candidate, University of Waterloo

Experiential education is a growing institutional phenomenon in university education. Despite its spread, little attention has been paid to the perspective of faculty members in terms of how they make sense of experiential education and how it shapes their professional roles or disciplinary priorities. To shore up these gaps, I report the findings of a qualitative survey that was used to understand general faculty sentiments in Ontario about experiential education (n=132), and in-depth semi- structured interviews (n=47) from faculty members across eight disciplines from six universities. The findings of this study reveal four sensemaking lenses that faculty use to make sense of experiential learning: the disciplinary lens, the institutional lens, the pedagogical lens, and the professional lens. The presentation concludes with recommendations for future research on faculty sensemaking.

Presentation 2: Janus Lives: Social capital and role conflict among Deans at a large Canadian university

Dr. David Mandzuk - Dean Emeritus, University of Manitoba

There is a growing body of literature on the multiple roles that deans play in higher education (Mandzuk, 2023; Montez, Wolverton & Gmelch, 2002; Seale, 2021). One of the central themes addresses the important mediating roles that deans play between the expectations of senior university administrators and the expectations of their own academic and administrative staff and students. Some scholars have used the concept of the ‘Janus effect’ to illustrate how deans and other middle managers essentially have two ‘masters’ and therefore, they are in a constant state of looking forward and backward to try to meet the often-conflicting expectations of these two groups (Pienaar & Cilliers, 2016). This study examines the multiple roles that deans play by expanding the use of the Janus effect to include other ‘masters’ or stakeholders both internal and external to the university and by linking it to two well-known sociological concepts—social capital and role conflict.