Promotion and Tenure in the Collective Agreements of the U15 in Canada As an Emblem of the Everyday: The Coordination of Arbitrary Individual Decisions As Performance Culture

Friday, 20 July 2018: 18:48
Oral Presentation
Lindsay PARKER, University of Victoria, Canada
The university is a community of scholars: universitas magistrorum et scholarium refers to the community of scholars and teachers. In the U15 research universities of Canada, this community is nominally self-governing over academic matters such as tenure. Collective agreements determine the conditions of research faculty employment for universities across Canada. As individually negotiated formal documents between employer and employees, their design, language, and form reflect the exigencies of unique institutions and capture the contours of institutional cultures. Opacity in collective agreements undercuts self-governance of faculty associations by opening informal, everyday channels of authority. This study draws on radical theories of the everyday to compare formalized discourses and agreements against anecdotes of the violation of said formal processes. Vague and opaque language in collective agreements includes some of the most important power relations to continuation of employment. This qualitative comparative study inductively codes the collective agreements or comparable documents of the U15 group of Canadian research universities, focussing specifically on discussions of tenure for research-based faculty positions. Grounded inductive coding was completed using Atlas.ti to track five topical areas: definition of tenure, definition of assessment standards, criteria of assessment, the sequence of authority in the tenure decision-making process, and cumulative authority in the tenure decision-making process. In all five topical areas, sub-codes were created for vague or opaque terminology.