Each year academic regalia at US universities is a central component associated with the pomp and circumstance of commencement exercises. At one university, faculty of 20 different colleges play a significant role during those same commencement exercises. Currently, the Academic Costume Code, maintained by the American Council on Education, serves as the governing body for academic regalia at universities around the country. Though faculty play a prominent role in the visual presence at commencement exercises, little is known about faculty attitudes and beliefs regarding the use of academic regalia during commencement events. The goal of this research is to better understand the attitudes, beliefs, use, and opinions of current faculty at one Land-Grant university. The theory of planned behaviour provides the theoretical background for this research. This research study used an online instrument to census tenure-system, academic specialists, and fixed-term faculty at Michigan State University. Research objectives included: 1) defining how faculty use academic regalia in the context of commencement exercises; 2) determining the differences among attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behaviours, and opinions about the use of academic regalia; and 3) determining how faculty attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behaviours determine intentions to use academic regalia in commencement exercises at a Land-Grant university. Results indicated that over 88 percent of faculty respondents positively supported the continued use of academic regalia at commencement events. Descriptive results also suggest a similar trend in attitudes and beliefs about the continued use of academic regalia at commencement exercises. A modified exploratory factor analysis (EFA) indicated observed constructs had a positive direct effect on factor loadings of attitudes and subjective norms, and behavioural control and intent. This research provides support for a continued understanding of attitudes and beliefs about the use of academic regalia; future studies should be conducted at other Land-Grant institutions in the United States.

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New Prairie Press



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