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Abstract

Groups communicate about scholarship on the tacit assumption that there is a mutual understanding of the term. Yet the process of policy development is often hampered as different meanings attached to the term become evident. This paper uses culturalinterpretive and interactionist conceptual frameworks to analyze a specific case of redefining the shared meaning of scholarship and codifying these meanings in promotion and tenure policy. Data was collected through interviews, observation and document analysis. The six significant groups involved in this policy revision invested the term scholarship with different meanings, including viewing it as problematic, as a creative process, as currency of exchange, as a status indicator, as a mission, and as a matter of ethics. Four major strategies were employed by participants in this study to bridge these different meanings: reviewing model policies, developing examples, articulating precise language, and having face-to-face meetings. Understanding how the groups used these strategies to steer the process in a productive direction will inform those who promote policy revision.

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