Graduation Caps

Decorating graduation caps, also known as mortarboards, has become an increasingly common tradition among graduating students.

Associate professor Sheila Bock is doing a study on the diverse forms and meanings of this tradition among people graduating from colleges or universities. The purpose of this study, titled “Decorated Mortarboards: Forms and Meanings,” is to find out how and why people choose to decorate their mortarboards.

All UNLV alumni who are at least 18 years old are welcome to participate in this study.

Document the Decorated Graduation Cap Tradition

There are three ways you can participate in this study:

  1. Take a 10-15 Minute Survey: If you have ever decorated your mortarboard for a graduation ceremony at a college or university and you are at least 18 years old, you are invited to participate in this survey.
  2. Participate in an Interview: If you have ever decorated your mortarboard for a graduation ceremony at a college or university and you are at least 18 years old, you are invited to participate in an interview about your experiences. The interview will be audio-recorded and will last no longer than an hour. If you are interested in being contacted for an interview, please use the following link to submit your name and contact information. This information will be kept confidential and will not be used for any other purposes.
  3. Share Your Photos of this Tradition: If you are at least 18 years old, you are invited to share photographs of your decorated mortarboards on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter, and mark it with the hashtag #gradcaptraditions. Only posts made public will be included in the study. You may also email photographs of your decorated mortarboard to Dr. Sheila Bock directly at sheila.bock@unlv.edu.
    For the purposes of this study, the photos and contextualizing information you share will be analyzed for the types of themes, designs, and messages found on the mortarboards. These photos will also be housed in the publicly available digital collections of the Ohio State University Folklore Archives, where they may be subject to future research and publication in current or in any successor technologies. The risks of participating in this study are minimal, though please be aware that the images and information you post to social media will be accessible to the public. Participation in this study is voluntary, and you may withdraw at any time without prejudice to your relations with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. You are encouraged to ask questions about this study at any time.

Contact

Sheila Bock
Department of Interdisciplinary, Gender, and Ethnic Studies
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
702-895-0119
sheila.bock@unlv.edu