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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Helping the Way We Are Needed: Ethnography of an Appalachian Work College
by Rudibaugh, Lindsey Mica, Ph.D., Prescott College, 2015, 208; 3707735
Abstract (Summary)

This doctoral research is an ethnographic study that describes the lived culture of Alice Lloyd College, a work college located in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky, and its efficacy in engaging Appalachian students in sustainability education in a college setting. Campus culture was found to be consistent with that of the broader Appalachian region, with three blue collar values emerging as core cultural indicators within the campus community. The three core values are work ethic, service, and self-reliance. Student participants reported low levels of cultural dissonance in transitioning from their family lives to life in college, with most claiming that their immediate families were supportive of their decision to attend college. This is uncommon in the higher education landscape as many Appalachian students on more traditional campuses are first-generation, struggle to persist to graduation, and experience clashing between their home culture and that which they experience at school. The institution was found to be a model of sustainability education in the areas of social and economic justice. Social justice is promoted through the enactment of the institution’s mission of cultivating leaders to serve and improve the Appalachian region. Economic justice is fostered through the College’s work program which makes higher education possible without debt for low-income Appalachian students by providing tuition waivers to those who work a minimum of 10 hours per week carrying out critical campus operations. While environmental justice was not found to be a current outcome, the institution’s practices have valuable implications for re-envisioning higher education as a tool for promoting—rather than impeding—holistic sustainability efforts by reinforcing and promulgating sustainable blue collar values through teaching subsistence skills and systems thinking in a work college setting. Data collection for this study was conducted via responsive qualitative interviews with multiple campus constituent groups, including students, faculty, and staff. Data analysis consisted of attributes coding, magnitude coding, and values coding, followed by code landscaping to identify patterns across each coding phase.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Cox Caniglia, Noel
Commitee: Collins-Sibley, Michelle, Hartman, Eric, Santo, Beverly
School: Prescott College
Department: Education / Sustainability Education
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 76/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational sociology, Pedagogy, Higher education
Keywords: Alice lloyd college, Appalachia, Blue collar, Fair trade learning, Subsistence, Sustainability education
Publication Number: 3707735
ISBN: 978-1-321-82484-1
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