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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Sarah Elizabeth Pernie
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Educational Leadership, Research, and Technology
Title: Content Analysis of University Alcohol Policies: “Party Schools” Compared to Non-party Schools
Dr. Louann Bierlein-Palmer, Chair
Dr. Andrea Beach
Dr. Karen Brown
Date: Tuesday, July 1, 2008 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Room D-212 in the College of Engineering Building, Parkview Campus
Universities across the United States are dealing with a crisis regarding an alarming number of underage students drinking on or near campus. One prevention tool is having a comprehensive alcohol usage policy for students, which includes content as recommended by a number of national organizations focused on decreasing underage drinking on campuses. Yet little is known about the content actually contained in current university alcohol policies.
To this end, my research involved a content analysis of the alcohol policies from 71 purposefully selected universities across the country. These included institutions identified as “party schools” by the Princeton Review, and a similar sample of those not identified as such. The overall purpose was to examine to what extent the content of these policies matched national recommendations. In addition, differences as broken down by party school status, athletic conferences/geographic location, and institutional size were examined.
A rubric was developed using recommendations from four national organizations including: The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse and Violence Prevention (HEC), and the American Medical Association (AMA). Initially 15 content categories were extracted from the national recommendations, with another 12 categories surfacing during the research process. The policies of the 71 institutions were obtained on line, analyzed for content, and then compared to the 27 content categories within this rubric.
Findings reveal that the content found in these 71 university alcohol policies does not match best practice recommendations from the four national organizations. Indeed, only a handful of universities had what could be considered a somewhat comprehensive policy, with the most comprehensive including only 14 (of the 27) content categories. The findings also indicate that the content of university alcohol policies is not related to party school status, institutional size or geographical location. To better support content development within university policies, recommendations are offered regarding essential content.