Previous emphasis on the education of the whole person i. It demonstrates the reciprocal dynamic of stress that is becoming more and more evident among educators and students. Global Voices in Higher Education. Education is a site of significant change and is without a doubt under siege from external and economically driven forces [ 1 ].
In Ireland, for example, as a result of less than optimal performance in PISA [ 4 ], a national literacy and numeracy strategy [ 5 ] was swiftly introduced despite other equally pressing societal needs, such as the mental health crises in schools and suicide rates of 9. The OECD has, in effect, created international league tables and in so doing has exerted overarching influence on national educational polices.
This raises significant challenges with regard to the changing nature of the purpose of education. In , at the height of political upheaval in the United States, Martin Luther King, in his speech at Morehouse College, evoked the function of education as to teach one to think — to think both intensively and critically. More pressingly, he advocated that education, which stops with efficiency, might indeed prove the greatest menace to society. He saw the prioritization of intelligence without attention to character formation and societal responsibility as deeply problematic. These trends are worrying for several reasons, not least of which is the increasing pressure it places upon students and teachers, but also and even more worryingly, it has served to disempower teachers with adverse consequences on their agency and autonomy.
Once cited as having legendary autonomy by the OECD [ 8 ], Irish teachers are increasingly deprofessionalized and disenfranchised in terms of their professional confidence and agency [ 9 ]. However, in past decades, Irish schools had more freedom in terms of the time available to attend the holistic development of their students.
Schools in Ireland are now placed on league tables that are ordered by the number of students who progress to university. These league tables are published yearly in the national newspapers and are discussed across the national media radio and television. This increased pressure on schools to educate students for university has meant that many schools have narrowed their focus and now tailor their content and pedagogy exclusively to the terminal exam, which is called the Leaving Certificate [ 9 ].
Similar to matriculation, results of this exam are high stakes for schools because the number of successful students to gain a university place based on this exam determines their place on the league tables. The results are also high stakes for students because their results determine access to a university course. This has resulted in exclusive concentration on exam performance in the latter years of schooling.
According to Lipman [ 14 , p. Among others, they cite Aronowitz [ 15 ] and Ball [ 16 ] who point to increasing commercialism and privatization agendas [ 17 ] and to consequent narrowing and elitism of higher education [ 18 , 19 ]. The result is disenfranchised and disempowered intellectuals. Universities are now clearly experiencing significant challenges specifically related to budget cuts, tailoring of curriculum to meet the needs of the market [ 21 — 23 ], and the destruction of faculty agency.
The pressures experienced by national public funding cut result in need to secure funding from private sources, from student fees both national and international , from philanthropic donations [ 13 ] and from national and international research funding. Liefner [ 24 p.source url
Unravelling quality culture in higher education: a realist review | SpringerLink
Indeed, Liefner's research identified that the performance demands associated with funding pressures publications and citations have meant that faculty tend to stay within their academic fields and avoid projects with uncertain outcomes. Faculty will in effect avoid what they see as risk ibid.
Consequently, universities find themselves positioned as having to provide services, research and labour to the corporate sector [ 13 , 25 ]. Dependence on such indentured service provision comes at a high cost to traditional values such as academic freedom. The capacity for academics to freely offer societal critique is a capacity fast becoming a thing of the past [ 10 ].
Project part B
So much so that Giroux cites Washburn [ 25 p. In the classroom deans and provosts are concerned less with the quality of instruction than with how much money their professors bring in. As universities become commercial entities, the space to perform research that is critical of industry or challenges conventional market ideology—research on environmental pollution, poverty alleviation, occupational health hazards—has gradually diminished, as has the willingness of universities to defend professors whose findings conflict with the interests of their corporate sponsors.
Will universities stand up for academic freedom in these situations, or will they bow to commercial pressure out of fear of alienating their donors? These pressures exacerbate heavy workloads for many academics. Meeting performance measures such as research output and successful tendering for external funding are now indicators that academics must content with in addition to teaching. This model is, however, going through surreptitious modification with the nature of recent changes to academic work in Irish Universities such as the employment of College Teachers rather than Lecturers whose duties are teaching only.
In itself this creates interesting hierarchies in terms of what is valued research versus teaching debate. Lack of tenure and precarious employment are powerful disincentives to discuss controversial issues or to express unorthodox views and is, according to Washburn, a troubling prospect for those who care about academic freedom [ 25 ]. The trend to disenfranchise academic staff has continued unchecked, so much so that on 15 March , several education trade unions mobilized for the World Action Day against Precarity in Higher Education and Research [ 27 ].
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It is fuelled by the cumulative emphasis on quality, efficiency, accountability and performativity, which have occurred simultaneously with decreased resources and funding. The case study identifies increased demands in terms of publications and research output in addition to increased administrative roles. These spiralling demands and expectations on academics occur in the context of eroded professional autonomy, a consequence of managerialism [ 32 ] and government cuts in funding for higher education [ 13 ].
Furthermore, linking of funding with outcomes as advocated by the Hunt report [ 33 ] the policy document for higher education in Ireland increases the potential for stress among academics. This trend is not specific to Ireland, with similar trends reported in the United Kingdom. Such precarious employment increases stress for untenured academics and serves to silence potential dissent for fear of adverse contractual consequences. Lynch [ 29 ] warns of what is at stake.
She explains that social and moral values are relegated in importance, with trust, integrity, care and solidarity becoming subordinated to monitoring, control and competition. She further indicates that both student and staff idealism to work in the public interest are implicitly and, sometimes, explicitly discouraged [ 29 ]. McDermott et al.
The negative impact of the performative culture on space for the promotion of emotional health is clearly articulated by Ball [ 39 p. There is little doubt that these factors among others cohere to make the academic work environment increasingly performative, individualistic, competitive and consequently stressful. It is important to acknowledge that learning in itself is also stressful and stress makes learning, the goal of higher education, even harder to achieve because stress has been associated with impaired cognitive performance [ 41 ].
About this book
Stress is an inherent feature of the work life of many higher education professionals and is a serious concern in higher education [ 42 ]. The available evidence suggests that academics are experiencing increased stress levels [ 30 , 42 , 43 ]. The combined responsibilities of teaching, research and community service coupled with work overload are reported as the most significant determinants of stress among this population [ 44 ].
University of Southampton Institutional Repository. Cultural work and higher education. Palgrave Macmillan. Noonan, C.
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Record type: Book Section. Full text not available from this repository. More information Published date: September Organisations: Winchester School of Art. Based on the nation-wide survey data, a purposeful sample of institutions will be selected for a more in-depth analysis of the complex interplay between formal and informal structures aimed facilitating quality enhancement. This includes qualitative and quantitative analyses of the documents on issues related to formal requirements for staff recruitment and promotion, in what capacity and how students are involved in quality work, as well as current incentive structures in place that are related to work on quality.
Group and personal interviews will be conducted in the selected institutions with academic and administrative leaders; administrators with particular responsibility for quality assurance and internationalization; and students who are included in the quality enhancement processes in a formal capacity. This will allow us to gain insight into good practices as well as tensions and challenges when institutional strategies are put to work at various levels, and the specific considerations made with respect to internal concerns and external requirements, such as those coming from NOKUT.
This will also shed light on what actually facilitates quality improvement processes and how working on quality is conducted in the context of potentially competing demands and logics. These issues will be examined through the following research questions: Explaining programme development and dynamics : How can we explain the development and expansion of new study programs across Norway, with regard to funding conditions, quality assurance, social changes, shifting demands from labour market and students, as well as the academic development of disciplines?
Institutional strategies for quality: How does institutional leadership work with quality issues? What strategies and structures are there for quality work at the institutional level?
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