A new definition of reality for higher education : A study of College of the Mainland, Texas City, Texas



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This paper contains an interpretation of some aspects of a theory which proposes that social reality is constructed in the Interpretation of everyday experience. This interpretation depends upon the orientations, or values, beliefs and frames of reference, of individuals which are a product of previously constructed definitions of reality which have been internalized in the process of socialization. Acceptance of any given definition of social reality is dependent upon whether or not the problems encountered in everyday experience can be solved in terms of the orientations of the Individual. The interpretation of this theory has been the basis for an empirical study of College of the Mainland, Texas City, Texas, where a deliberate attempt has been made to construct a new definition of social reality. Included in the study is an explication of the overarching frame of reference from which experimentally structured situations have been designed and defined. Also included is a description of the situations and how their definitions differ from those of traditional definitions of higher education. A study is reported with findings which indicate that faculty, students and administrators at College of the Mainland tend to Interpret their shared everyday experiences within an orientation which reflects the overarching frame of reference from which situations have been structured, that encountered problems tend to be solved, and that new definitions of educational reality have been realized and accepted by participants within the College.



Higher education, Texas City, College of the Mainland