A Gender Lens on Pedagogical Choice in Academia: Revisiting Hartlaub and Lancaster's Study on Teaching Methodologies

By Wigfall, Patricia Moss; Hall, Paula Quick | Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table, Summer 2010 | Go to article overview

A Gender Lens on Pedagogical Choice in Academia: Revisiting Hartlaub and Lancaster's Study on Teaching Methodologies


Wigfall, Patricia Moss, Hall, Paula Quick, Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table


This paper focuses on the role of gender in faculty choice of teaching methodologies at colleges and universities in North Carolina. We replicate research conducted by Hartlaub and Lancaster who examined pedagogical preference among a national sample of political science instructors. In revisiting that inquiry, published in 2008, we have explored the applicability of their finding that gender had some influence on pedagogical choice. As we compare the sample of North Carolina colleges and universities with those in the nationally representative sample, we also look at the similarity of other findings, as well as disparities, that we think relevant to our study.

By broadening the Hartlaub-Lancaster national sample to include faculty who teach public administration, public policy and research methods, we specifically look to see if gender-related associations, which were revealed in the national study can be generalized to faculty in other disciplines and of smaller geographical areas.

While we employ the Hartlaub-Lancaster survey, we condense the number of questions in the survey to reduce the completion time in which we thought most respondents would readily accept. Information that is provided by excluded questions, however, is not lost, as we will be able to extrapolate information needed for future research from the emailed responses of participants. We detail the excluded survey questions in the section, The 2008 and 2010 Studies.

Introduction

We live in a very political society; our government is a model for the world. Furthermore, as we export commodities, as we globally travel, are translated and read, heard and interfaced with in the blogosphere, American understandings of representation, equity and power globally circulate also. From Jimmy Carter and Kay Hagen to Jesse Helms and Lindsey Graham, the contemporary U.S. South has a vibrant reputation. North Carolina's graduates of political science/public administration, public policy and government, in one or a combination of these disciplines are proof that North Carolina universities and colleges play an important role in recruiting, training and releasing to the local and national public, adults who will claim their education has prepared them to be heard and followed. We have the opportunity to challenge and shape how America's future leaders and public servants utilize received knowledge: Political Science and public administration faculty distinctly facilitate what and how students learn about our democracy and how public policy is formulated and implemented.

What our students encounter and perceive in political science and public administration classroom matters because we, in part, shape their professionalized political (and politicized) outlook. From content to content and classroom culture, the post-secondary, political science and public administration classrooms are more than a place to read and listen, they define a place where received notions of gender, voice, and power are being acted out; thus, in this way, turning North Carolina classrooms into initiating fora for learned behavior about collegiality, authority and gender. We are concerned with some initial considerations of how and whether the American--and, some might say feminist--ideal prompted by a sought after gender balance among North Carolina political science and public administration faculties, correlates with the vehicle used for instructional input. What might feminist, faculty choices look like and how frequent are political science and public administration professors in North Carolina choosing them?

How our students receive and process our instruction may exceed their personal use of information in texts of faculty choice and the tools we assign them to process quantitative data. What our students internalize, learn and model in future may reflect what they have or have not experienced of equity (as conceived by "group work") on one hand, and, on the other, executive feminism (as construed by female faculty lectures) in the Southeastern political science classroom. …

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