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Pop Admin: Discourse in Higher Education Media

  • Author / Creator
    Valentine, Christine
  • This study examines how educational administrators experience contributing to the public sphere of academic-media discourse. Opinion editorials (op-eds) written by higher education administrators are expressions of administrative praxis that have the capacity to inspire meaningful change in the study and practice of educational administration. Guided by Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) methodology, this study uses semi-structured interviews to interpret the experiences of four administrators who contributed to an administration issues column in a popular higher education publication. This study also incorporates the views of a senior staff member of the publication, who provides important historical and contextual information about the administration issues column. Ten major themes emerged through the process of open coding that aligned with this study’s research question, research objectives, and overarching theoretical framework, informed by Habermas’ theory of communicative action.

    The major findings of this study revealed that all participants attributed meaning in different ways to the process of writing for the administration issues column. Despite varying perspectives of the roles of administrators in the public sphere, as identified in the literature review, the majority of the participants expressed that it is important that administrators’ voices be included in popular higher education publications—not only as a means of sharing professional knowledge, but also to share their views on a variety of issues affecting higher education. The data also revealed a correlation between participants sharing their op-ed columns via social media platforms, specifically Twitter, with a higher rate of audience engagement.

    This study makes five recommendations: that graduate programs prepare students in educational administration programs to learn how to communicate concisely; that administrators should write about their experiences, opinions, and advice in op-ed articles; that educational administrators should network with industry professionals, publish in academic publications, and present at academic conferences; that educational administrators should include a ‘public writing’ category in their curriculum vitae; and, that educational administrators should actively engage on social media platforms. Future studies should focus on improving educational administrator preparation programs, which can equip administrators with important skills and technological fluency to succeed in the 21st century university.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2019
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Education
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-1n6e-n713
  • License
    Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.