Making Meaning of the 1960s on Campus: Examining Organizational Culture and Policies through University Annual Reports




Gray Parker, Alyse

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The decade of the 1960s was rife with social and political change across the United States. The consequences of the changing times were often seen on college campuses and influenced campus culture, especially for Black students. Literature has shown that campus culture, and relatedly organizational culture, comprise of many aspects such as the organizational mission, environment, and leadership (Tierney, 1988). To examine how a university’s organizational culture was communicated and articulated during a decade of intense social change, this study examines the annual reports at a historically white land-grant university—The Ohio State University. Using critical discourse analysis, annual reports were examined to understand what discourses were articulated in relation to The Ohio State University’s organizational culture during the 1960s. Findings show that discourses of opportunity, bettering society, excellence, knowledge, and authority were present among the annual reports. Further, the annual reports provided a picture of the university through race-neutral and apolitical discourses despite the racialized societal context of the 1960s. Thus, the annual reports provide a limited analysis of Ohio State’s organizational culture. Implications focus on how colleges and universities shape their organizational culture in ways that are race-neutral or apolitical, and how they can acknowledge the societal context their university is situated in order to create more inclusive institutional practices and policies for underrepresented students.


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Campus culture, Black students, Organizational culture



Educational Leadership and Policy Studies