22 SES 06 C, Teaching and Learning: Employability & Diversity
In higher education organizations, which in particular in countries like in Germany for decades served only the education of the elite, the composition of the student body is changing due to diverse societal developments. Among these are the transformation process towards the so-called knowledge society and the accompanying educational expansion and massification of the HE organizations, the growing importance of the HE organizations in the context of lifelong learning, the growing demand of academically educated people due to technological change and the accompanying digitalization, the demands for inclusion newly sparked by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), a continuously increasing internationalization in the form of international student mobility as well as the access of refugee students. Many of these developments are not limited to individual nation states but are European if not global phenomena (Altbach et al. 2017; Schofer/Meyer 2005).
Against this background, higher education organizations are gradually ascribed to the task of supporting the increasingly heterogeneous student body, e.g., regarding access, study organization and advice, but also in teaching, as in the case of Germany within the framework of the Teaching Quality Pact (Qualitätspakt Lehre). International and supranational organizations sometimes also reinforce these demands. To what extent do these demands also become visible in the public sphere with regard to higher education teaching?
The paper uses the organizational-sociological understanding that HE organizations are exposed to external environmental expectations to which they must respond to maintain their legitimacy (Meyer/Rowan, 1977). Hence, this article will analyze which institutional expectation structures with regard to dealing with diversity in teaching at German HE institutions are placed in the print media and professional discourse of HE professionals. Following Scott (2008)'s concept of institutions, a distinction can be made between a regulative, normative and cultural-cognitive institutional dimension. Existing laws and regulations may reflect the environmental expectation structures in the regulative dimension. In public and professional discourses, the existing norms and values as well as the ideas and legitimations as being part of the normative and cultural-cognitive dimension can become visible. These expectations reflected in the discourses can guide the actions of HE organizations overall and the professors and lecturers in particular. Besides, an understanding of higher education, its targets group and its openness or closeness is socially constructed in the discourses and thus visible for future students, so that for instance non-traditional students can feel more or less addressed to take up a course of study.
To what extent is difference-sensitive university teaching a demand that is discussed in the media and professional public sphere? Which categories of difference are constructed as relevant for university teaching? How is the need for diversity-sensitive teaching legitimized? What ways to teach are discussed and what role do new digital possibilities play in teaching, for example, to open up teaching to non-traditional students? Can changes be observed over time?
In Germany in particular, such an analysis is exciting for several reasons: on the one hand, Germany is characterized by a strong social and educational selection towards higher education, since the strongly segregated school system and a less permeable education system (Bernhard 2017, Powell/Solga 2010 ) only allowed a clearly preselected group access to higher education. On the other hand, due to the existence of a strong vocational training system, Germany traditionally has a low student rate compared to other European countries. Both factors show that the group of students in Germany is traditionally considered to be less diverse. However, the number of students has increased rapidly over the past 20 years. The education system has become more permeable, so that more non-traditional students are taking up the path to higher education, the number of international students is also growing and universities are beginning to implement diversity management. This paper then analyses the media discourse of the German national quality press (Süddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Die ZEIT) as well as the professional discourse in the journal "Forschung und Lehre" (Research and Teaching) published by the German Association of Universities and other Higher Education Institutions (Hochschulverband) as a possible place for professional discourse for the years 2010 - 2018. The analysis is carried out with the help of the qualitative content analysis according to Gläser/Laudel (2006).
Since the data collection and analysis is still in progress, this abstract cannot yet provide any findings. These, however, will be presented in the context of this contribution and will show to what extent, for example, are international students, refugees or people with a migration history, and vocational qualified individuals constructed as legitimate student groups who should be supported within the framework of diversity-sensitive teaching? What other categories of difference are seen to be important?
Altbach, P. G., Reisberg, L., & de Wit, H. (2017). Responding to massification: Differentiation in postsecondary education worldwide: Springer. Bernhard, Nadine (2017). Durch Europäisierung zu mehr Durchlässigkeit? Veränderungsdynamiken des Verhältnisses von Berufs- und Hochschulbildung in Deutschland und Frankreich. Opladen: Budrich UniPress. Gläser, J.& Laudel, G. (2006). Experteninterviews und qualitative Inhaltsanalyse: als Instrumente rekonstruierender Untersuchungen. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. Meyer, J. W., & Rowan, B. (1977). Institutionalized Organizations: Formal Structure as Myth and Ceremony The American Journal of Sociology, 83(2), 340-363. Powell, J. J. W., & Solga, H. (2011). Why are Participation Rates in Higher Education in Germany so Low? Institutional Barriers to Higher Education Expansion. Journal of Education and Work, 24(1-2), 49-68. Schofer, E., & Meyer, J. W. (2005). The Worldwide Expansion of Higher Education in the Twentieth Century. American Sociological Review, 70(December), 898-920. Scott, W. Richard (2008). Institutions and Organizations: Ideas and Interests. (3. Edition). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
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