22 SES 10 C, Policy, Management and Governance in Higher Education
There is a substantial literature concerning the changes of the academic work in conditions of neoliberal policy and managerial governance. The danger exists that in this kind of studies the ordinary university workers are considered as “implementation problems” or as victims of crushing neo-liberal policy. It has been argued that new managerialism has damaged the academic professionalism, and reduced academic autonomy or at least made the academic work a still more conflicting one. At the same time we have plenty of studies which indicate clearly that academics are both motivated and obliged to search for the nature of the “goods” in their work. (e.g.Currie, Harris, & Thiele 2000; Henkel 2005; Jauhiainen, Jauhiainen & Laiho 2009; Mäntylä 2007; Nixon, Marks, Rowland & Walker 2001; Räsänen 2008.)
The activity of teaching has also become more managed and problematized. It has been captured through the mechanisms of quality audit systems, the language of indicators. (Fanghanel 2012, Lee & Manathunga 2010.) In Finland, a neoliberal HE policy doctrine has been eagerly followed. This has meant a clear shift from ‘collegial’ to ‘managerial’ modes of governance in Finnish universities. (Aarrevaara, Dobson, & Elander 2009; Rinne, Jauhiainen, Simola, Lehto, Jauhiainen & Laiho 2012.) In the Finnish academia where the Humboldtian tradition – the ideal of research-teaching nexus (Robertson 2007, 542) – has been powerful, a strong scholarship and research merits were seen as sufficient preconditions for the good teaching. In the time of global HE policy the position of teaching in academia has changed in many ways.
In our paper we are looking for answers to following questions: 1) What is happening to academic identities or to academic professionalism in the context of managerial practices and culture especially when it is question about teaching work 2) How and from what kinds of elements the academic identity and teacherhood constructs and consists in the contemporary university? We will investigate these questions in terms of subjectivity, positionality and locality. Our viewpoint is that academics are not passive recipients of external forces (power) and policy doesn’t shape practice or identities in any simple or linear fashion. We are relying on Foucauldian perspective of power which constitutes relationship of activities and interaction, determinates identities and positions of actors and includes the element of resistance and which opens and closes possibilities to subjects (Foucault 2000).
We are approaching academic teaching work as practical activity by focusing on tactical, political and moral dilemmas of academic work. According to Keijo Räsänen these aspects can be articulated in terms of four basic issues that a practitioner encounters in an activity: how to do it, what to accomplish in, and achieve by doing it, why these means and goals are valuable, or at least justifiable and who to “become” by doing it with these means, goals and motives of justifications. These four issues (inspired by Alistair McIntyre 1981) form four stances to work: tactical, political, moral and personal. (Räsänen 2008; 2009, 189, see also Fanghanel 2012.)
Aarrevaara, T., Dobson, I.R. & Elander, C. 2009. Brave New World: Higher Education Reform in Finland. Higher Education Management and Policy 21(2), 89–106. Currie, Jan, Harris, Patricia & Thiele, Bev 2000. Sacrifices in greedy universities: are they gendered? Gender and Education 12 (3), 269–291. Fanghanel, J. (2012) Being an Academic. New York and London: Routledge Henkel, M. 2005. Academic identity and autonomy in a changing policy environment. Higher Education 49, 155–176. Jauhiainen, A. Jauhiainen, A. & Laiho, A, 2009. The Dilemmas of the ”efficiency university” and the everyday life of university teachers. Teaching in Higher Education 14 (4), 417–428. Lee, A. & Manathunga, C. 2010.Teaching as performance.In J. Blackmore, M. Brennan & L. Zipin (Eds.) Re-Positioning University Governance and Academic Work. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 101–114. McIntyre, A. 1981. After Virtue. A study in moral theory. London: Duckworth. Mäntylä, H. 2007. On “good” academic work.Practicing respect at close range. Dissertation A 06. Helsinki School of Economics. Nixon, J., Marks, A., Rowland, S. & Walker, M. 2001. Towards a New Academic Professionalism: a manifesto of hope. British Journal of Sociology of Education 22 (2), 227–244. Rinne, R., Jauhiainen, A., Simola, H., Lehto, R., Jauhiainen, A. & Laiho, A. 2012. Valta, uusi yliopistopolitiikka ja yliopistotyö Suomessa. Managerialistinen hallintapolitiikka yliopistolaisten kokemana. Research in Educational Sciences 58.Jyväskylä. Finnish Educational Research Association. Robertson, J. (2007). Beyond the research/teaching nexus’: exploring the complexity of academic experience. Studies in Higher Education, 32 (5), 541–556. Räsänen, K. 2008. Meaningful academic work as praxis in emergence. Journal of Research Practice 4(1), ArticleP1. Retrieved from http://jrp.icaap.org/index.php/jrp/article/view/78/102 Räsänen, K. 2009. Understanding academic work as practical activity – and preparing (business-school) academics for praxis? International Journal for Academic Development 15 (3), 185–195.
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