Social Capital and the Campus Com...
1 Forthcoming in Miller, J. E., (2010). To Improve the Academy: Resources for Faculty, Instructional, and Organizational Development, Vol. 29. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. SOCIAL CAPITAL AND THE CAMPUS COMMUNITY Andrew N. Carpenter, Ellis University Linda Coughlin, St. Mary���s College of Maryland Susanne Morgan, Ithaca College Christopher Price, The College at Brockport, State University of New York ABSTRACT Investigating colleges' and universities' social capital through its five dimensions���civic engagement, norms and trust, collective action, bonding capital, and bridging capital���provides a powerful way of thinking about organizational and faculty development. Four very different institutions of higher learning have promoted their organizational development through efforts that build social capital. We seek to inspire additional application of and research into this topic by demonstrating that confronting the complexities of social capital within diverse campus communities can help faculty developers to understand those communities with greater nuance and in ways that improve their ability to design and implement development initiatives. The study of social capital is most developed in political science, economics, sociology, and community organizing. We submit that the concepts underpinning social capital and its effects on community have value for institutions of higher learning as they develop their organizations and especially their faculty. Thus the question that inspires this article is: Might a thorough understanding of the dynamics of social capital allow us to understand our organizations' development potential and give us tools for building stronger communities on our campuses? THE FUNDAMENTALS OF SOCIAL CAPITAL
2 The metaphor of capital has been used in a variety of contexts. Financial capital is money available for investment physical capital is real estate, equipment, and/or infrastructure human capital is in training that increases productivity on the job and cultural capital involves in-depth cultural knowledge that can be turned to the owner's socioeconomic advantage (Light, 2004). A social capital economy can be understood as a system, similar to that of a financial economy. A financial economy is based on the exchange of money and financial capital is the accumulation of financial resources. Likewise, a social capital economy is based on exchanges between and among people who form social relationships and accumulate social capital in the form of trust and shared norms. In the social capital system, the currency is the trust and shared norms of the relationships, and the wealth is social networks. Theories of social capital investigate how relationships of trust embedded in social networks (Light, 2004) support individuals��� and groups��� productivity and capacity to plan future action and achieve collective aims. In Farr���s (2004) useful characterization, ���social capital is��� conceptualized as the network of associations, activities, or relations that bind people together as a community via certain norms and psychological capacities, notably trust, which are essential for civil society and productive of future collective action or goods��� (p. 9). It is a key assumption of this article that faculty developers have much to gain by understanding the network of associations operative in their own institutions and by conducting faculty development activities that enhance social capital. The results can be improved faculty productivity, increased student learning, and enhanced institutional capacity to learn and improve. Before discussing these themes with respect to our diverse institutions, we pause to reflect that the contemporary concept of social capital has a long intellectual history and pedigree that includes work on political economy by philosophers Jeremy Bentham and Henry Sidgwick,
3 work on social structures by Max Weber and Emile Durkheim, and work on democracy and education by John Dewey (Farr, 2004). Farr identified the first use of the term ���social capital��� by Karl Marx in 1867 (p. 8), but the intellectual history of the concept has much deeper philosophical roots. Marx's usage of the term drew heavily on Aristotle's conception of humans flourishing within a social context. Aristotle used the concepts of friendship (philia) and political community (zoon politicon) to understand the structures of society and political economy and their relationship to individuals' ability to develop their capacities through action in social and political contexts (McCarthy, 1990 Gilbert 1981). Most recently, the concept of social capital has gained visibility in the United States through the well-known book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (Putnam, 2000), which applied Putnam���s prior definition of social capital as ���social organization such as networks, norms, and social trust that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit��� (Putnam 1995, p. 67). Rohe (2004) articulated the dynamics of the social capital system by suggesting that a person who engages in civic life builds social networks from which develop relationships of interpersonal trust. Environments rich in networks of reciprocal relations are likely to be able to engage in effective collective action, and that action increases benefits for both the individual and the social organization. Completing the cycle, increased individual and social benefits are likely to prompt increased civic engagement. Other theorists have distinguished two forms of social capital: bonding capital, which brings together people who already know each other, and bridging capital, which connects people who previously did not interact (Vidal, 2004). It is with these concepts that we analyze efforts to build and to exploit social capital at our own institutions. We start by noting that increasing individuals' engagement in the