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CHIEF STUDENT AFFAIRS OFFICERS’ INTERPRETATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS . Rebecca Jane Caldwell SACSA 2012. Thanks. SACSA Award Committee University of North Carolina-Wilmington Clemson University

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Rebecca jane caldwell sacsa 2012

CHIEF STUDENT AFFAIRS OFFICERS’ INTERPRETATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS

Rebecca Jane Caldwell

SACSA 2012


Thanks
Thanks IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS

  • SACSA Award Committee

  • University of North Carolina-Wilmington

  • Clemson University

  • Dissertation Committee:

    • Dr. Pam Havice, Chair

    • Dr. Tony Cawthon

    • Dr. Jason Cassidy

    • Dr. James Satterfield

  • Participating CSAOs


Alcohol use among u s college students
Alcohol Use among U.S. College Students IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS

  • College students 18-24 drink more than non-college peers (Hingson, 2010).

  • Percentage of college students who participated in high-risk drinking increased between 1999 and 2005 from 41.7% to 45.8% (Hingson, 2010).

  • Estimates of annual alcohol-related harm have been recently increased (Hingson, 2009).


Alcohol prevention models
Alcohol Prevention Models IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS

  • Ecological perspective combines individual interventions with interpersonal, organizational, and environmental interventions (Glanz & Bishop, 2010).

    • Higher Education Center’s Environmental Management model (DeJong et al., 1998; DeJong & Langford, 2002)

    • NIAAA (2002) “A Call to Action” and the 3-in-1 framework, which used four tiers of effectiveness

  • Only half of institutions use effective individual efforts and only 1/3 work with communities (Nelson et al., 2010).


Amethyst initiative mlda
Amethyst Initiative & MLDA IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS

  • Announced in August 2008 with 119 signatories. Currently at 136 institutions.

  • Asks for the age 21 MLDA to be reconsidered.

  • MLDA linked to less binge drinking among 18-24 year olds, except for college students (Grucza et al., 2009; Wagenaar & Toomey, 2002).

  • MLDA is cited to lower alcohol-related traffic accidents, drinking rates in 18-20 year olds, and alcohol dependency (Wagenaar & Toomey, 2002; Shultz et al., 2001; Norberg et al., 2009).


Chief student affairs officers csaos
Chief Student Affairs Officers (CSAOs) IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS

  • Part of core institutional leadership team (Barr & Sandeen, 2006; Bass, 2006; Brown, 1997; Sandeen, 2001, 1991)

    • Scope influenced by institutional characteristics (Heida, 2006; Palm, 1985; Tederman, 1997)

  • Relationship to president is key (Sandeen, 2001; Bass 2006)

  • Campus expert on student development (Brown, 1997)

  • Overall, there is limited research on this role.


Statement of the problem
Statement of the Problem IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS

  • High-risk drinking remains a serious issue for college campuses.

  • Public health and higher education researchers hold different conclusions about the status of effective prevention efforts.

  • The MLDA, while considered effective in many settings, continues to be both controversial and possibly less effective in college settings.

  • The Amethyst Initiative was a movement by college presidents that proposed a reconsideration of the MLDA.

  • CSAOs, as a primary policy implementers of the MLDA and the AI, are the subject of limited research on the topic.


Research questions
Research Questions IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS

  • How do Chief Student Affairs Officers interpret the Minimum Legal Drinking Age?

  • How has the Amethyst Initiative affected Chief Student Affairs Officers’ interpretation and implementation of the Minimum Legal Drinking Age?


Theoretic tradition
Theoretic Tradition IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS


Discursive approaches to policy analysis
Discursive Approaches to Policy Analysis IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS

  • Policy development and implementation can be understood through their relevant meaning to human actors (Bevir & Rhodes, 2003; Wagenaar, 2007).

  • Taken place in an environment of complexity, ambiguity, contingency and conflicts with other policies and positions (Bohman, 1996; Dryzek, 1990; Allen, 2003; Schwandt, 1997; Kekes, 1993; Wagenaar, 2002, 2007).

  • Embedded in a web of social meanings produced and reproduced through discursive practices (Fischer, 2003).

  • Focus on the languages, discourses, and rhetorical arguments used to create frames around issues (Fischer, 2003).


Interpretive policy analysis
Interpretive Policy Analysis IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS

  • 4 Key Phases (Yanow, 1996, 2000):

    • Identify artifacts that are carriers of meaning.

    • Identify the interpretive communities relevant to a policy that are the perceivers of meaning.

    • Identify the discourses through which the meanings are communicated.

    • Identify any point of conflict that suggests that different groups attach divergent meanings to some aspect of the policy.


Csaos interpretation and implementation of the ai and mlda
CSAOs Interpretation and Implementation of the AI and MLDA IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS


Discourse analysis
Discourse Analysis IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS

  • Discourse is a specific ensemble of ideas, concepts, and categorizations that are produced, reproduced, and transformed to give meaning to physical and social relations. (Allen, 2003; Hajer, 1993; Fischer, 2003)

  • Each discourse is derived from a different line of reasoning. (Fischer, 2003)

  • Different discourses about a problem lend themselves to different policy solutions (Clarke, 2007; Fischer, 2003)


Gee discourse analysis methods
Gee- Discourse Analysis Methods IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS

  • Focus on both the details of language structure and meaning in social, cultural, and political terms. (Gee, 2005, 2011)

  • Balances focuses on cognition, social interactions and activities, and society and institutions.

  • 27 tools for discourse analysis, including 5 theoretical tools:

    • Situated meaning

    • Social languages

    • Intertextuality

    • Figured Worlds

    • The “Big D” Discourse


Sample development
Sample Development IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS


Participant demographics
Participant Demographics IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS

AI Campuses

Non- AI Campuses


Trustworthiness
Trustworthiness IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS

  • Member checking

  • Progressive subjectivity:

    • Subjectivity journal

    • Analytic memo after each interview

  • Thick, rich description in results chapter

  • Hand-coding by transcript and question, followed by coding with Nvivo 9.

  • Checking rival explanations, searching for discrepant information and alternative explanations.

  • Peer debriefing


Audit trail example
Audit Trail Example IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS


Amethyst initiative declaration
Amethyst Initiative Declaration IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS

  • 6 Discourses:

    • Open Market of Ideas

    • Outdated Research

    • Rites of Adulthood

    • Effective Education

    • Hidden Danger

    • Moral Development


Rebecca jane caldwell sacsa 2012

  • IT’S TIME TO RETHINK THE DRINKING AGE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS

  • In 1984 Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which

  • imposed a penalty of 10% of a state’s federal highway appropriation on

  • any state setting its drinking age lower than 21. Twenty-four years later,

  • our experience as college and university presidents convinces us that

  • TWENTY-ONE IS NOT WORKING

  • A culture of dangerous, clandestine binge-drinking, often conducted off-

  • campus, has developed. Alcohol education that mandates abstinence as the

  • only legal option has not resulted in significant constructive behavioral

  • change among our students.

  • Adults under 21 are deemed capable of voting, signing contracts, serving

  • on juries and enlisting in the military, but are told they are not mature

  • enough to have a beer.

  • By choosing to use fake IDs, students make ethical compromises that

  • erode respect for the law.

  • HOW MANY TIMES MUST WE RELEARN THE LESSONS OF

  • PROHIBITION?

  • We call upon our elected officials:

  • To support an informed and dispassionate public debate over the

  • effects of the 21 year-old drinking age.

  • To consider whether the 10% highway fund incentive encourages or

  • inhibits that debate.

  • To invite new ideas about the best ways to prepare young adults to

  • make responsible decisions about alcohol.

  • We pledge ourselves and our institutions to playing a vigorous,

  • constructive role as these critical discussions unfold. (Amethyst Initiative, 2008)


Research question 1 how do chief student affairs officers interpret the minimum legal drinking age
Research Question 1: IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS How do Chief Student Affairs Officers interpret the Minimum Legal Drinking Age?

CSAOs defined dangerous and irresponsible drinking as the focus of their alcohol abuse prevention efforts, as opposed to underage drinking;

CSAOs expressed a strong belief that students could be reasoned into right action regarding alcohol use through educational efforts;

CSAOs expressed a need to find a balance between strictness and leniency in their response to alcohol abuse on campus;

CSAOs expressed a range of beliefs about the changeability of their campus alcohol abuse issues;

CSAOs were unclear about what would happen if the MLDA was lowered; and

CSAOs attempted to balance their multiple roles on campus as they led alcohol abuse prevention efforts.


Research question 1 theme 1 problem dangerous and irresponsible drinking
Research Question 1: Theme 1 IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS Problem: Dangerous and Irresponsible Drinking

  • Drinking divided into low-risk drinking and extreme drinking behavior.

  • Drinking seen as more extreme than past, particularly the CSAOs’ experiences as students.

  • In this viewpoint, MLDA is viewed as:

    • Contributing to dangerous student behavior

    • Helpful as a tool to correct student behavior

    • Nuisance law that wastes time to enforce


Research question 1 theme 2 students can be reasoned into right action educational efforts
Research Question 1: Theme 2 IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS Students can be Reasoned into Right Action: Educational Efforts

  • Educating students to be responsible was viewed as effective.

    • Despite NIAAA reports of ineffectiveness

  • MLDA is an impediment to effective alcohol education.

  • MLDA interferes with the ethical development of students.

  • Use of campus conduct system is a regrettable act used when students don’t learn from educational efforts.


Research question 1 theme 3 balancing strictness leniency
Research Question 1: Theme 3 IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS Balancing Strictness & Leniency

  • Expressed as balance between education and enforcement.

  • Overzealous enforcement may also have consequences.

  • Defining which types of behaviors will be the focus of efforts.

  • Two CSAOs experienced presidential interference in their balancing efforts.


Research question 1 theme 4 lack of consensus on changeability
Research Question 1: Theme 4 IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS Lack of Consensus on Changeability

  • Four CSAOs (25%) cited significant progress on alcohol abuse issues.

    • Two relied on MLDA; two relied on pragmatic policies.

  • Other CSAOs expressed doubt about ability to make progress.

    • Desire for more than current best practices


Research question 1 theme 5 unclear about lower mlda effects
Research Question 1: Theme 5 IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS Unclear about Lower MLDA Effects

  • Little effect of lower MLDA because students already ignored the law.

    • MLDA as a possible contributor to higher alcohol abuse

    • CSAOs were students during a lower MLDA.

  • Arguments for the MLDA from public health and against from the AI were in evidence.


Research question 1 theme 6 csaos balances roles as they lead alcohol abuse prevention efforts
Research Question 1: Theme 6 IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS CSAOs Balances Roles as They Lead Alcohol Abuse Prevention Efforts

  • MLDA was an impediment to positive relationship with student body.

    • Role modeling of responsible use and behavior

  • MLDA interferes with the total student development of students/transition to adulthood.

  • CSAOs who were more supportive of the MLDA had greater psychological distance from students.


Rebecca jane caldwell sacsa 2012

Research Question 2: IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS How has the Amethyst Initiative affected Chief Student Affairs Officers’ interpretation and implementation of the Minimum Legal Drinking Age?

AI institutions believed that they were engaging in an intellectual debate about the effectiveness of the MLDA;

The AI failed to capture the attention and imagination of campuses and the broader culture;

The CSAOs in this study displayed a broad range of involvement by their president in the decision whether or not to sign the AI; and

The AI was seen as counter-productive to campuses citing progress on alcohol abuse issues.


Research question 2 theme 1 believed that the ai was a debate
Research Question 2: Theme 1 IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS Believed that the AI was a Debate

  • Surprised and offended to be misinterpreted as being for lowering the MLDA

  • Debate and inquiry are core values in higher education.

  • The path of the AI was unclear and the leadership was lost.


Research question 2 theme 2 ai failed to capture attention
Research Question 2: Theme 2 IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS AI Failed to Capture Attention

  • CSAOs from both AI and non-AI institutions reported that it generated little attention.

  • Lack of political interest in the AI by students, even when the CSAO tried to engage students

  • Some presidents received negative feedback.


Research question 2 theme 3 csaos were involved differently
Research Question 2: Theme 3 IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS CSAOs were Involved Differently

  • CSAOs’ involvement ranged from a truly mutual decision with their president to no consultation and no announcement.

  • Only four CSAOs were supportive of the MLDA.

    • 7 of 8 AI CSAOs supported their president’s position.

    • 4 of 8 Non-AI CSAOS supported their president’s position.


Research question 2 theme 4 ai counter productive to success
Research Question 2: Theme 4 IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS AI Counter-productive to Success

  • If policy enforcement was part of a successful strategy, a CSAOs was likely to view the AI as a short-term or long-term setback.

    • This view was held even by a CSAO who was personally in favor of a lower MLDA.


Findings link to literature
Findings Link to Literature IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS

  • MLDA was not as effective on college campuses (Wagenaar & Toomey, 2002)

  • Participants embraced environmental management principles (DeJong et al., 1998).

    • Implementation of NIAAA report (2002) less so (Nelson et al., 2010)

  • Affirmed higher education-public health split


Theoretical implications
Theoretical Implications IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MINIMUM LEGAL DRINKING AGE AND THE AMETHYST INITIATIVE: A DISCURSIVE POLICY ANALYSIS

  • Definition of the problem defines the solutions.

    • MLDA is not central to campus efforts.

  • The AI did not affect institutional environments.

    • Student engagement in a debate may be key.

    • Signing the AI was a symbolic action without accompanying instrumental action.

  • The AI may have codified institutional perspective on the MLDA.



How did the interpretive model hold up
How did the Interpretive Model hold up? the AI and MLDA

“How” does a policy mean?

Nuisance

Tool

Detriment



Implications for policy practice
Implications for Policy & Practice Irresponsible Drinking

  • MLDA neutralizes aspects of CSAO role & expertise.

    • Arbitrary limit versus individual student development and specific campus culture perspectives.

  • CSAOs and presidents had varying relationships related to alcohol issues.

  • Educational and other intuitive (but possibly ineffective) approaches still have value to CSAOs.


Implications for policy practice1
Implications for Policy & Practice Irresponsible Drinking

  • Viewpoints on the MLDA may be a roadblock to campus-community partnerships.

  • CSAOs expressed a variety of positions in the long-term struggle with alcohol abuse.

    • Fatigue was in evidence.

    • Psychological distance from students was coupled with pro-MLDA enthusiasm.

  • Rigorous enforcement of the MLDA has costs and benefits for CSAOs.


Limitations
Limitations Irresponsible Drinking

  • Interviews were three years after the AI.

  • The AI can be considered a failure.

  • The AI campuses are not representative of all campuses.

  • AI was a presidential decision.

  • Further types of triangulation could have strengthened study.


Recommendations for further study
Recommendations for Further Study Irresponsible Drinking

  • Interpretive policy analysis and other discursive approaches are appropriate for college settings.

  • Additional research is needed about effective alcohol prevention in smaller college environments.

  • Participant cited non-MLDA policies that could be studied.