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Early careers of recent U.S. Social Science PhDs

Emory Morrison, Elizabeth Rudd, and Maresi Nerad

In this article, we analyse findings of the largest, most comprehensive survey of the career paths of social science PhD graduates to date, Social Science PhDs - Five+Years Out (SS5). SS5 surveyed more than 3,000 graduates of U.S. PhD programmes in six social science fields six to ten years after earning their PhD. The survey collected data on family, career and graduate school experiences. Like previous studies in Australia, the U.K., the U.S.A. and Germany, SS5 found that graduates several years after completing their education had mostly positive labour market experiences, but only after undergoing a transitional period of insecurity and uncertainty. Most SS5 doctoral students wanted to become professors, despite the difficult academic job market and the existence of a non-academic market for PhD labour. Many respondents' career pathways included a delayed move into a faculty tenure-track position, but exceptionally few moved from a faculty tenure-track position into another labour market sector. Respondents reported that their PhD programmes had not trained them well in several skills important for academic and non-academic jobs. Men's and women's career paths were remarkably similar, but, we argue, women 'subsidised' gender equality in careers by paying higher personal costs than men. We conclude with recommendations.

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Editorial

Penny Welch and Susan Wright

Welcome to this issue of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences. Our thanks go to the authors of articles and reviews, the anonymous referees who read the articles, the publishers who provided review copies of the books, our own publisher

Berghahn and the Editorial Board.

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The future of U.S. higher education

Davydd J. Greenwood

Richard Arum and Josipa Roska (2011) Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 259 pp., 978-0-226-02855-2 (hbk).

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Re-crafting an Academic Literacies approach to pedagogic communication in higher education

Paul Sutton

The communicative relationship between learners and teachers in higher education, particularly as manifested in assessment and feedback, is often problematic. I begin from an Academic Literacies approach that positions academic literacy as requiring learners to acquire a complex set of literacy skills and abilities within specific discursive and institutional contexts. Whilst acknowledging the institutional dimension of academic literacy, I argue that the Academic Literacies approach tends to underestimate its significance. This shortcoming can be addressed by considering student speaking and writing as powerfully constrained by what Bourdieu refers to as the authority of pedagogic institutions, which function in what Sennett calls the culture of the new capitalism. Synthesising Bourdieu and Sennett, I argue, opens up possibilities for creating a pedagogy for itself: a pedagogy conscious of its reproductive function but able to provide both learners and teachers with what Canaan terms critical hope. Through this theoretical synthesis I seek to re-craft the Academic Literacies approach to pedagogic communication so that our understanding of the problems experienced by learners in acquiring academic literacy can be enhanced.

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Supporting international students in higher education: a comparative examination of approaches in the U.K. and U.S.A.

Brendan Bartram and Mayumi Terano

This discussion paper offers a critical examination of the ways in which international students are supported by the variety of systems commonly in place at universities in the U.K. and U.S.A. - two countries that attract large numbers of students from overseas. While acknowledging the difficultly of defining the term 'support', the article describes, compares and critiques the approaches deployed in both nations. Though certain broad, structural similarities are identified, the authors discuss how a shared neoliberal instrumentality guiding student support leads to differently inflected institutional responses in both countries. Consideration is also given to the extent to which differences in 'national' values and beliefs about higher education might be implicated in these diverse approaches and, finally, to what lessons might be learned from these comparisons.

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Book Reviews

Shaun Hargreaves-Heap, Stefan Hudak, and Jeroen Huisman

Walter W. McMahon (2009) Higher Learning, Greater Good: The Private and Social Benefits of Higher Education

Review by Shaun Hargreaves-Heap

Alberto Amaral, Guy Neave, Christine Musselin and Peter Maassen (eds) (2009) European Integration and the Governance of Higher Education and Research

Review by Stefan Hudak

Jill Blackmore, Marie Brennan and Lew Zipin (eds) (2010) Re-positioning University Governance and Academic Work Review by Jeroen Huisman

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Constructing fear in academia: neoliberal practices at a public college

Dana-Ain Davis

Neoliberal values and ideology, which have broadly undermined social justice ideals, have been inserted into a range of public spheres both in the U.S.A. and internationally. Public higher education institutions have increasingly acquiesced to neoliberal strategies, which restrict access to public services, commodify the public sphere and challenge the legitimacy of progressive and liberal politics. This article explores some neoliberal practices at one public institution of higher education in the United States. I present three incidents that took place between 2000 and 2006 at a college that is part of a public State University system: a shift to disparagement of 'activism' in a college that had prided itself on its activist traditions; a confusion over the profitable marketability of Global Black Studies, in a context where political pressures diminished 'minority' perspectives in the interest of reasserting homogeneous 'Western civilisation'; and a partnership between this public college and a prestigious private university. In each case I explore my own response in terms of faculty governance, and how I developed new courses and pedagogies to open up these aspects of the operation of neoliberalism to critical examination by students. These incidents show how neoliberal practices create fear and feelings of vulnerability among faculty, especially faculty members of colour; they also show the importance of developing critical pedagogies to expose their assaults on social justice and equity.

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Editorial

Penny Welch and Susan Wright

Welcome to Volume 4 of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences. LATISS has been gradually widening its focus from its point of origin in the U.K. and this issue is truly international with material from Latin America, U.S.A, Sweden and England. LATISS’s approach – to study and reflect on the detail of teaching and learning practices in contexts of institutional change and national and international policies – is also well exemplified by the articles in this issue. For example, three of the articles explore issues of ‘race’ and ethnicity in connection with programme design, institutional politics and classroom relations respectively and in very different historical and policy contexts. Two articles also connect to topics on which LATISS has recently published special issues: on gender in higher education and on using the university as a site to critically explore the meaning and operation of neoliberalism.

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Gender imbalance in a university hierarchy: can stimulus from outside prompt change?

Ann-Mari Sellerberg

The article draws on the reports by 12 guest professors - all women - who participated in an EU-financed pedagogical project within a Swedish university's postgraduate studies course, the purpose of which was to address equal opportunities in academia. It has been established that women with doctoral degrees are not being absorbed into the research community. The purpose of the project was to persuade more women postgraduate students to consider university research as a possible future career on finishing their postgraduate studies. The article focuses on the question of whether guest professors, in their capacity as outsiders, observe significant factors in postgraduate students' circumstances that elude departmental staff. Can these observations provide knowledge that might persuade more women to continue in research? Can guest professors provide postgraduate students with experiences and lessons that are not readily available from departmental staff? The analysis of the professors' reports indicates that such is the case.

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'Indigenising' or 'interculturalising' universities in Mexico?: Towards an ethnography of diversity discourses and practices inside the Universidad Veracruzana Intercultural

Gunther Dietz and Laura Mateos Cortés

Multicultural discourse has reached Latin American higher education in the form of a set of policies targeting indigenous peoples. These policies are strongly influenced by the transfer of European notions of 'interculturality', which, in the Mexican context, are understood as positive interactions between members of minority and majority cultures. In Mexico, innovative and often polemical 'intercultural universities or colleges' are being created by governments, by NGOs or by pre-existing universities. This trend towards 'diversifying' the ethnocultural profiles of students and curricular contents coincides with a broader tendency to force institutions of higher education to become more 'efficient', 'corporate' and 'outcome-oriented'. Accordingly, these still very recently established 'intercultural universities' are often criticised as being part of a common policy of 'privatisation' and 'neoliberalisation' and of developing curricula particular to specific groups which weakens the universalist and comprehensive nature of Latin American public universities. Indigenous leaders, on the contrary, frequently claim and celebrate the appearance of these new higher education opportunities as part of a strategy of empowering actors of indigenous origin or African descent.

Going beyond this polemic, this paper presents the first findings of an activist anthropological and ethnographically-based case study of the actors participating in the configuration of one of these new institutions of higher education, the Universidad Veracruzana Intercultural (UVI), located on the Mexican gulf coast. This article examines the way UVI has appropriated the discourse of interculturality on the basis of fieldwork conducted in the four indigenous regions where the UVI offers a B.A. in Intercultural Management for Development. The study focuses on the actors' teaching and learning practices, which are strongly shaped by an innovative and hybrid mixture of conventional university teaching, community-oriented research and 'employability'-driven development projects.