22 SES 03 B, Development and Expertise of Staff and Students
The aim of this paper is to develop knowledge about assessments of educational expertise within a specific evaluation practice, connected to appointment processes when hiring senior lecturers after a public posting at a Swedish university. The paper draws on an evaluation perspective, suggesting that these assessments of educational expertise are part of an evaluation practice (Scriven, 2003). Further, educational expertise should be understood as an aspect of academic proficiency, discursively constructed in peer reviewers’ written statements.
Evaluating peers, commonly known as peer review, on the basis of academic proficiency is a common task undertaken by faculty members. The different contexts within which these tasks are performed have increased in importance and scope (Langfelt & Kyvik, 2011). Massification and marketization of higher education in Europe and worldwide have increased the importance of skills in research, teaching and public outreach (see e.g. European University Association, 2015). Consequently, many universities have developed policy and reward system to strengthen the value of multiple competencies in recruitment and promotion. These processes of selection and recognition are high-stake for the individual and the institution as well as the society. The gate-keeper function of quality and relevance make these evaluation processes both interesting and legitimate as research object.
Compared to peer review of for example grant proposals peer review in appointment processes in academia has a longer tradition in Sweden, as well as worldwide. In some countries these evaluation practices are conceived as rather mysterious and opaque (Van den Brink, 2010; Weiser, 2012). In Sweden, however, they are reasonably available due to the principle of public access to official records. Notwithstanding, they have received quite little academic attention. Since appointment in public operations involves an exercise of public authority it is of vital importance to put these processes under scrutiny.
Previous research on peer review has mainly taken an interest in assessments of scholarship of discovery and research expertise, i.e. research evaluation. This might not be too surprising since the primary cause of the peer review system was to assure research of high quality (Weiser, 2012). In focus of this paper is, however, the assessment of educational expertise (sometimes referred to as teaching excellence, teaching skills or scholarship of teaching, see e.g. Gibbs & Coffey, 2004; Kreber, 2002). This aspect of academic proficiency has been even more neglected in research and educational expertise is most often downplayed in relation to research expertise, and this calls for further academic scrutiny. Of specific interest, is how educational expertise is constructed in peer reviewers’ assessments when appointing senior lecturers. Guiding questions for this paper are:
1) What diverse comprehensions of educational expertise are manifested in reviewers’ written statements?
2) How are educational expertise and various aspects of it valued?
3) How is educational expertise valued compared to other aspects of academic proficiency?
Specific attention will be payed to: differences related to disciplines (i.e. the discipline to which the announced position pertain); the affiliation of the reviewer; references to policy and guidelines; references to higher education research on teaching and learning; any special assignment given to the reviewers (some reviewers are selected to specifically evaluate educational expertise in addition to research expertise); and what dis-/qualifies candidates in terms of eligibility and final ranking by means of articulations in peer reviewers written statements.
Evaluating faculty performance is a global phenomenon albeit procedures for this and academic cultures might differ. As part of a broader research project this paper further constitutes a contribution to the wider understanding of to what extent different evaluation practices impact and lay down diverse conditions for educational expertise and its assessment.
Boyer, E. L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Brennan, J., Enders, J., Valimaa, J., Musselin, C., & Teichler, U. (2008). Higher Education Looking Forward: an agenda for future research. European Science Foundation, Strasbourg. European University Association. (2015). Trends 2015: Learning and Teaching in European Universities. URL: http://www.eua.be/Libraries/higher-education/trends-2015.pdf?sfvrsn=0 Fairweather, J. S. (2002). The ultimate faculty evaluation: Promotion and tenure decisions. New Directions for Institutional Research, 2002(114), 97-108. doi:10.1002/ir.50 Gemzöe, L. (2010). Kollegial bedömning av vetenskaplig kvalitet – en forskningsöversikt. [Peer review of scientific quality – a research review] Vetenskapsrådets rapportserie 4:2010. Gibbs, G., & Coffey, M. (2004). The impact of training of university teachers on their teaching skills, their approach to teaching and the approach to learning of their students. Active learning in higher education, 5(1), 87-100. Glassick, C., Huber, M., & Maeroff, G. (1997). Scholarship assessed: Evaluation of the professoriate. San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Kreber, C. (2002). Teaching Excellence, Teaching Expertise, and the Scholarship of Teaching. Innovative Higher Education, 27(1), 5-23 Laclau, E., & Mouffe, C. (2001). Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. London: Verso Langfelt, L., & Kyvik, S. (2011). Researchers as evaluators: tasks, tensions and politics. Higher Education, 62(2), 199-212. doi:10.1007/s10734-010-9382-y Levander, Forsberg & Elmgren. (forthcoming). O'Meara, K. (2002). Uncovering the values in faculty evaluation of service as scholarship. The Review of Higher Education, 26(1), 57-80. doi:10.1353/rhe.2002.0028 Riis, U., Hartman, T., & Levander, S. (2011). Darr på ribban? En uppföljning av 1999 års befordringsreform vid Uppsala universitet [Is the Bar Quivering? A Follow-up Study at Uppsala University of the Promotion Reform of 1999]. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, Uppsala Studies in Education 127. Shulman L. S. (1986) Those Who Understand: Knowledge Growth in Teaching, Educational Researcher. 15 (2), s. 4-14 Scriven, M. (2003). Evaluation theory and metatheory. I Kellaghan, T., Stufflebeam, D.L. & Wingate, L.A. (red.) (2003). International handbook of educational evaluation (s. 15-30). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Trigwell, K. (2001). Judging university teaching. International Journal for Academic Development, 6(1), 65-73, doi: 10.1080/13601440110033698 van den Brink, M. (2010). Behind the scenes of science: gender practices in the recruitment and selection of professors in the Netherlands. NL: Pallas Publications Weiser, I. (2012). Peer Review in the Tenure and Promotion Process. Symposium on Peer Review. CCC 63:4 / JUNE 2012, 645-672.
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.