In this article, I explore how individuals access agency within a large institution. Relying on Dorothy Smith’s work with institutional ethnography, I integrate interview data with my experience as part of the institutional change process. What is revealed in the data is that agency is constantly being negotiated with disengagement. In the article, I set up a series of vignettes to establish an interwoven dialogue that enables me to tell the collective story of faculty experiences at a university and their stories of working on institutional change. Through these dialogues, I explore the complex and contradictory ways in which faculty make sense of their roles on campus and within the institutional change process. Ultimately, what I trace in my conversations with faculty is a negotiation of agency and disengagement as they seek out strategies to be brave and work to make lasting and meaningful change at the university.
- © 2015 International Institute for Qualitative Research, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign