Interrogating the University, One Archival Entry at a Time

Gina Hunter, Nancy Abelmann, Timothy Reese Cain, Tim McDonough, Catherine Prendergast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article describes the Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI), a six-year-old cross-campus program at the University of Illinois that offers students the opportunity to conduct original ethnographic and archival research on their own institutions and supports faculty who guide that research. It helps the researchers and faculty negotiate Institutional Review Board (IRB) clearances, coordinates the use of course-management software, organizes conferences, and maintains publicly accessible online archives of student research findings. EUI is at once research support infrastructure, faculty and student learning community, and broad-based research agenda. This initiative provides a powerful model for how to foster inquiry-based courses, maintain an open record of student learning, and foster student agency. EUI also demonstrates how student research can be a vital source of institutional self-reflection, leading to greater institutional responsiveness.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-45
Number of pages6
JournalChange: The Magazine of Higher Learning
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008


  • Higher Education
  • Student Research
  • Ethnography
  • Institutional Research
  • Archives
  • Academic Libraries
  • Program Descriptions


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