Note: This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

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Title:Marine Corps ROTC and the University
Author(s):Hovey, Eric
marine core
Abstract:While I do not have many concrete findings to report on with my project, the biggest points I want to reinforce are that the individuals who participate in ROTC do so for a highly diverse array of reasons and that the University of Illinois is itself an actor in this decision. Not only does the University shape which activities ROTC students can engage in here on campus (e.g., which spaces are available, which activities can receive extra funding, etc.), but it also has the potential to influence where ROTC scholarship students ultimately decide to go to school. Given the current negative public perception of the war on terror, the fact that Vietnam-era student protestors frequently targeted ROTC buildings as part of their demonstrations, and the fact that the University of Illinois and its ROTC programs are necessarily intertwined, I think that further research into this relationship can yield valuable information. Proposed research into this area would include extensive interviews both with current ROTC students, as well as alumni who completed the program in the past. Of particular interest in these interviews would be questions detailing with how much U of I/ROTC factored into their decision to participate in the program, and for the alumni, how well do they feel the U of I’s ROTC program prepared them for life after college? Also, it would be interesting to find a way to compare the U of I’s ROTC program to that of other schools, to see how it measures up to the competition (perhaps a survey sent out to different ROTC units across the country). Ultimately, I find this research of the relationship between ROTC and the University of Illinois to be quite fascinating, and highly relevant given the current heated discourse surrounding America’s “war on terror.”
Issue Date:2008-02-13
Course / Semester:ANTH 411: Methods for Sociocultural Anthropology, Prof. Nancy Abelmann. This course introduced students to a variety of ethnographic methods. Students tried their hand at some of these methods through a focused project. I had students think about their semester-long work as "pilot research"; although they did write up a short paper on their findings (their "discuss" section of the database), the culminating assignment was a research proposal in which they envision building on their preliminary findings in a longer/larger project. In the beginning of the semester, students did some warm-up exercises not directly related to their projects (an observation, an analysis of a university document, and an interview) -- some students elected to remove these from their databases while others left them in because of their connection to the final project. Students' "question" and "plan" sections of the database include multiple entries as I encouraged them to continue to refine these over the course of the semester in dialogue with their own emerging findings. I also asked students to search both the U of I Student Life and Cultures Archives and well as this EUI IDEALS collection to find archives relevant to their pilot/proposed research. All students were asked to "reflect" on the research experience and to make "recommendations" to the University on the basis of their research findings. The course syllabus is available at:
Publication Status:unpublished
Date Available in IDEALS:2008-02-13

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • Student Communities and Culture
    The university offers an extraordinary opportunity to study and document student communities, life, and culture. This collection includes research on the activities, clubs, and durable social networks that comprise sometimes the greater portion of the university experience for students.
  • Student Learning
    This collection examines student learning both in and beyond the classroom.

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