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LOUDNESS AND PIZZAZZ: ETHICS AND THE PERFORMATIVE ETHOS IN A RESEARCH-INTENSIVE UNIVERSITY

Date

2017-05-31

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

ORCID

0000-0002-3708-0986

Type

Thesis

Degree Level

Doctoral

Abstract

This thesis reports on a case study of faculty members from three colleges at a Canadian university. The specific objectives of the case study are threefold: 1) to paint a picture of the current “face” of scholarship at a research intensive university; 2) to understand how faculty respond to tensions inherent in recent changes in higher education, and; 3) to explore what the findings mean for the ability of the University to fulfill its scholarly mandate. Findings are shared from this mixed-methods case study, and interpreted using a Foucauldian theoretical perspective. Faculty feel their work is important to them and describe themselves as engaged, but the majority feel overwhelmed and do not have time to do everything that is expected of them and to do it well. Faculty also struggle to reconcile what can be competing demands (e.g., to be a star researcher and a star teacher) I argue that a performative ethos has become embedded in everything from individual faculty renewal and promotion processes to institutional budgets and strategic planning processes. Although the performative ethos evolved amid efforts to improve accountability and promote scholarly excellence, I argue that it can actually encourage behaviors that diminish excellence in teaching and discovery, while also exposing faculty to ethical dilemmas. These dilemmas are more or less difficult to negotiate depending on how aligned one’s professional and personal values are with the performative ethos, and where one stands in the ranking system. How faculty respond to the performative ethos and these dilemmas has implications for whether or not the institution can achieve its mandate of excellence in teaching and discovery.

Description

Keywords

Accountability, academic work, Foucault, governmentality, performativity, ethics

Citation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Department

Sociology

Program

Sociology

Citation

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DOI

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