22 SES 02 C, Academic Work and Professional Development
Parallel Paper Session
Under the era of globalization, universities have been given expanding social responsibilities with the demands of internationalization, accountability, assessment and market orientation, for instance. The new higher education policy has been implemented in terms of neoliberalism and NPM (Slaughter & Leslie 1997; Clark 1998). In Finland, the development culminated in the new Universities Act that came into force in 2010. These trends have had deep effects on the governance and administrative culture as well as on the work of academics and other staff of the universities. A lot of research has been done concerning the changes of university work in the conditions of the new policy and governance, especially in the Anglo-Saxon countries which has been in the vanguards of the neoliberal HE policy (e.g. Marginson 2000; Anderson 2006; Winter 2009).
Along with the changes, the university teachers face many pressures and new conflicting role expectations with which they can identify (e.g. Henkel 2005; Delanty 2008). Teachers are directed to ever growing demands to improve and control the quality of teaching, apply diverse teaching methods in new learning environments and to respond to the various needs and demands of the labour market and the students. It has been said that the massification of university has increased the amount of teaching work and made the teaching more routinized. (Bennisch & Björkman 2007). Along with introducing different kinds of quality assurance systems the universities have had to develop teaching strategies and invest in the management and leadership of teaching (Taylor 2007). Teaching has been politicised in academia. The Bologna process demonstrates that very clearly, for example. The relation between teaching and research is one crucial and troubled issue which has been studied widely in the international context (e.g. Hattie & Marsh 1996; Trowler & Wareham 2008) but hardly at all in Finland (however, see Jauhiainen, Jauhiainen & Laiho 2009).
In our paper, we are interested in analysing what kinds of challenges and conflicts the academic teachers (professors, lecturers etc.) experience in their teaching work in the context of the new HE policy and the changing academic culture. We are asking: How and from what kinds of elements the identity and teacherhood of the university teacher constructs and consists in the contemporary university?
The paper is based on our new research project “Teacherhood in the 21st century university”. It is inspired by our expired project “Power, supranational regimes and new university management in Finland” (Rinne et al. 2012) where we studied the different university employee groups’ experiences about their own work in the context of the reforms of the new HE policy. The purpose of our new project is to focus on the work, role and identity of the university teachers in the context of the new higher education policy and culture.
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