Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Education

Professor of Teaching: The Quest for Equity and Parity

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Education

Professor of Teaching: The Quest for Equity and Parity

Article excerpt

Introduction

This essay reflects on the impact of the transformative process of reconceptualizing the scholarship of teaching and learning in a professional and an academic stream in a 21stcentury Faculty of Education. Specifically, this discussion will focus on my experiences as a tenure-track faculty member who was hired into a newly founded, research-intense university at a time when the campus did not possess resources and parameters for conceptualizing, supporting, and developing inquiry-based explorations. In order to maximize my own capital as an assistant professor, I sought tenure in an innovative new rank introduced to the campus, professor of teaching. The novel rank reflected the commitment of the university to endorse teaching as an ongoing and scholarly process, to provide educational leadership, and to promote curriculum innovation in higher education. Despite the fact that outstanding achievement was required in this new stream, guidelines for tenure and promotion to professor were not directive and exhaustive but more so suggestive and situated in place-based environments relating to educational leadership, teaching, curriculum development and pedagogical innovation, and service. While the criteria are carefully enumerated in a five-page document entitled "Guidelines for Promotion to Professor of Teaching" (UBC Human Resources, 2011), there has been little to no experience in interpreting and applying those measures. Within the context of a market-driven and policy-laden postsecondary institution, this was problematic. Since evidence supporting promotion to full professor is dependent on the discipline and the faculty, a myriad of interpretations of what exactly constituted a professor of teaching emerged. Of note is the fact that the provision of evidence to support outstanding contributions in the field of teaching and learning was necessary to attain the highest academic rank for this stream, as was the verification of recognition and impact beyond the university at national and international levels.

Confronted with the inherent complexities and indistinctness of this new rank, this analysis examines how working in the area of the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) affects personal, professional, and academic integrity and identity. This narrative details how I, as a scholar in a Faculty of Education, struggled to comprehend and to conceptualize the practical application of the academy's educational formative mission: to develop intellectual and cultural resources to prepare ourselves and our students for lives of significance and responsibility (Sullivan & Rosin, 2008).

Within this context, this chronicle posits that university educators, as committed agents of change, should be advocating for practices that benefit society at large as well as emergent transformative scholarly cultures in academia in order to build just, inclusive, democratic communities. Historically, Faculties of Education have suffered the brunt of marginalization and focused biases relating to the perceived lesser quality of research such as poor conceptualizations and definitional problems done in professional contexts (Pajares, 1992). As an evolving position, the professor of teaching validates and acknowledges the importance of the scholarship of teaching and learning at a micro-level in Faculties of Education, and at a macro-level across the university campus (Boyer, 1990; Shreeve, 2011). Since criteria related to promotion in the professor of teaching stream is adaptable and amenable to diverse interdisciplinary contexts, career progression in this position has the potential to provide consistency and adherence in teaching and in scholarly inquiry, not only in Faculties of Education but also across the campus, acknowledging the primary pedagogical mandate of all universities.

Higher education faculties, particularly Faculties of Education, can be forums where university educators practice institutional, cultural, political, intellectual, and pedagogical innovations by modelling paradigms which deconstruct the reproduction of meanings of individual success, competitiveness, egotistic desires, sexism, and racism that emerge out of normative ideology and worldviews. …

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