This research works from in an institutional ethnographic methodology. From this grounded approach, it describes the dialectic between the individual and the discourse of the institution. This work develops a complex picture of the multifarious ways in which institutional discourse has real effects on the working lives of graduate teaching associates (GTAs) and administrative staff and faculty in Arizona State University's Department of English. Beginning with the experiences of individuals as they described in their interviews, provided an opportunity to understand individual experiences connected by threads of institutional discourse. The line of argumentation that developed from this grounded institutional ethnographic approach proceeds thusly: 1) If ASU’s institutional discourse is understood as largely defined by ASU’s Charter as emphasizing access and academic excellence, then it is possible to 2) see how the Charter affects the departmental discourse in the Department of English. This is shown by 3) explaining the ways in which institutional discourse—in conjunction with disciplinary discourses—affects the flow of power for administrative faculty and manifests as, for example, the Writing Programs Mission and Goals. These manifestations then 4) shape the training in the department to enculturate GTAs and other Writing Programs teachers, which finally 5) affects how Writing Programs teachers structure their courses consequently affecting the undergraduate online learning experience. This line of argumentation illustrates how the flow of power in administrative faculty positions like the Department Chair and Writing Program Administrator are institution-specific, entangled with the values of the institution and the forms of institutional discourse including departmental training impact the teaching practices of GTAs. And, although individual work like that done by the WPA to maintain teacher autonomy and the GTAs to facilitate individual access in their online classrooms, the individual is ultimately lost in the larger institutional conversation of access. Finally, this research corroborates work by Sara Ahmed and Stephanie L. Kerschbaum who explain how institutions co-opt intersectional terms such as diversity and access, and that neoliberal institutions' use of these terms are disingenuous, improving not the quality of instruction or university infrastructure but rather the reputation and public appeal of the university.
- Entanglement: Everyday Working Lives, Access, and Institutional Discourse