Exploring the Teaching/Research Nexus Via Institutional Ethnography

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 15:15
Location: Hörsaal 6C P (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Megan THROM, Wayne State University, USA
Entire institutions are regarded as less valuable when labeled as “teaching-intensive” in the United States. The goal of this project is to investigate the relationship between the undervalued nature of teaching in academia as evidenced by the teaching/research nexus, and the under-privileging of k-12 teachers by analyzing individual experience, agency, and power relations present at the institutional level in order to develop a theory capable of linking structures in academia to privileging of research over teaching, and tracing this privilege to the devaluation of feminized labor.

Beginning with the stories of faculty members whose primary responsibility is teaching, I explore the pathways, choices, influences and obstacles they have encountered throughout their educational experiences, in addition to the perspectives of those who occupy positions further up the chain of influence in administrative roles. Common documents such as curriculum vitae, job postings and similar public displays (websites, bulletin boards, etc…) are woven throughout the analysis. Preliminary coding and early data analysis reveal themes dominated by agency and social class background as major influences into the pathways of academics at teaching intensive intuitions. Also prevalent are themes of institutional barriers in regards to initial job application procedures as well as in tenure and promotion, especially as related to more privileged research focused institutions.  Across the board, these academics have lamented the lack of preparation for their teaching intensive positions on the part of the institution while in graduate school. Curriculum vitae also point to a narrowly focused research identity, while academics themselves speak about their identities in much more complex ways.