This presentation considers the subfield of academic governance within the broader field of higher education. Although practices vary significantly, academic governance generally involves overseeing teaching and research and ensuring the protection of their quality and standards (Austin and Jones 2016). It is fundamental to universities because academic governance produces the conditions that enable teaching and research to take place (Marginson and Considine 2000).
Notwithstanding differences within and between universities and nation states, there have been profound changes within academic governance within the past 30 years or so, resulting in the domination of managerial and corporate modes of governance over more traditional collegial forms (Middlehurst 2013). Indeed, within much of the international literature, collegial and managerial governance are portrayed as being at opposite ends of a spectrum (Tight 2014). In Bourdieu’s terms, this tension between managerial and collegial governance is represented as academic and intellectual capital—two opposing forms of cultural capital or power particular to the higher education field (Bourdieu 1988). In contrast to the impression given by its name, academic capital is accrued as a result of status earned by way of a senior management position held within the organisation hierarchy and intellectual capital is accrued on the basis of an intellectual or scholarly reputation generally related to research achievement and expertise (Bourdieu 1988). Although both forms of capital sit in tension within contemporary universities (Kloot 2009), it is their relative holdings of intellectual capital that position them on the international ranking scales within the global higher education field (Marginson 2008). However, domination of the higher education field and the academic governance subfields by academic capital or management has raised concerns about the potential for academic voices to be subjugated (see Shattock 2014).
The presentation addresses the impact of recent changes in academic governance on the capacity of practising academics to speak and be heard during decision-making about and that affects teaching and research. Its underlying position is that the study of academic governance is relational and that changes and tensions within academic governance are at the forefront of broader shifts in universities’ roles and functions. The presentation proceeds along three lines. First, it provides an account of academic and intellectual capital, centring on the ways that Bourdieu (1988) and others have traced power relations within university decision making about academic matters. Second, the presentation reports comparative empirical data from England, the US and Australia on academic boards, the principal academic governance body within many universities, to show how, in different ways, shifting power relations manifest as a diminution of academic voice. However, the data also reflect the need for a more nuanced consideration of power within academic governance, within which many academics have taken up line management or executive-level roles, and many practising academics undertake quite substantial administrative roles alongside their teaching and research (Macfarlane 2015). Third, the presentation argues that revisiting of Bourdieu’s notions of academic and intellectual capital (Bourdieu 1988), combined with his concept of the divided habitus (Bourdieu 1999; Reay 2015), offers significant potential for development of deeper and more nuanced understandings of the ways these complex and contested asymmetries of power are developed and maintained.
Austin, I., and Jones, G. A. 2016. Governance of Higher Education: Global perspectives, theories and practices. New York: Routledge. Bourdieu, P 1977, Outline of a theory of practice, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Bourdieu, P 1985, 'The social space and the genesis of groups', Theory and Society, vol. 14, no. 6, pp. 723-44. Bourdieu, P 1986, 'The forms of capital', in JG Richardson (ed.), Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education, Greenwood, New York, pp. 241-58. Bourdieu, P. 1988. Homo Academicus. Translated by Peter Collier. Cambridge: Polity. Kloot, B. 2009. "Exploring the value of Bourdieu's framework in the context of institutional change." Studies in Higher Education 34 (4 ): 469-481. Macfarlane, B. 2015. "Dualisms in higher education: a critique of their influence and effect." Higher Education Quarterly 69 (1): 101-118. Marginson, S. 2008. "Global field and global imagining: Bourdieu and worldwide higher education." British Journal of Sociology of Education 29 (3): 303-315. Marginson, S., and Considine, M. 2000. The Enterprise University: Power, governance and reinvention in Australia. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. Middlehurst, R. 2013. "Changing internal governance: are leadership roles and management structures in United Kingdom universities fit for the future?" Higher Education Quarterly 67 (3): 275-294. doi: 10.1111/hequ.12018. Reay, D 2015, 'Habitus and the psychosocial: Bourdieu with feelings', Cambridge Journal of Education, vol. 45, no. 1, pp. 9-23. Rowlands, J 2013, 'Academic boards: less intellectual and more academic capital in higher education governance?', Studies in Higher Education, vol. 38, no. 9, pp. 1274-89. Rowlands, J 2017, Academic Governance within Contemporary Universities: Perspectives from Anglophone nations, Springer Nature, Singapore. Rowlands, J & Gale, T 2017, 'Shaping and being shaped: extending the relationship between habitus and practice', in J Lynch, J Rowlands, T Gale & A Skourdoumbis (eds), Practice theory: diffractive readings in professional practice and education, Routledge, Oxford. Shattock, M. 2014a. International Trends in University Governance: Autonomy, self-government and the distribution of authority. Edited by David Palfreyman, T. Tapper and Scott Thomas, International Studies in Higher Education. Oxford: Routledge. Shattock, M. 2014b. "University governance in the UK: bending the traditional model." In International Trends in University Governance: autonomy, self-governance and the distribution of authority, edited by Michael Shattock, 127-144. Oxford: Routledge. Tight, M. 2014. "Collegiality and managerialism: a false dichotomy? Evidence from the higher education literature." Tertiary Education and Management: 1-13. doi: 10.1080/13583883.2014.956788.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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