Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Pamela L. Eddy

Committee Member

James P. Barber

Committee Member

Kathleen E. Jenkins


This study examined the experiences of faculty members from U.S. universities who led students on a short-term summer study abroad program that incorporated the Camino de Santiago, a medieval pilgrimage route in Spain. The study sought to understand how faculty leaders engaged in sensemaking (Weick, 1995) of these experiences in the context of their faculty roles on their home campuses. The ethnographic methods included six years of field work in Spain, participant observation as faculty program director, and in-depth interviews with faculty leaders. The findings show that participants engaged in sensemaking through three theoretical constructs. The construct of family addresses nuclear family roles, including gendered roles, as well as Camino Family expectations. The construct of appointment and role expectations deals with tenure status and issues of autonomy, agency, and teaching. The construct of inspirations identifies and analyzes both internal and external sources of inspiration for faculty engagement in these programs. These sources include personal tragedies, a focus on student-centeredness, and a desire to expose students to a “Real Spain.” The constructs, in addition to serving as catalysts for sensemaking, establish a counternarrative on faculty growth (O’Meara et al., 2008). This counternarrative focuses on learning across complex faculty roles, the development of agency in enacting meaningful work, and faculty capacity for commitment to their work and institutions. Overall, this study demonstrated that leading a study abroad program along the Camino is an activity that contributes to faculty leaders’ growth.



© The Author