Academic journal article The Canadian Journal of Higher Education

The Academic Profession in Canada: Perceptions of Canadian University Faculty about Research and Teaching

Academic journal article The Canadian Journal of Higher Education

The Academic Profession in Canada: Perceptions of Canadian University Faculty about Research and Teaching

Article excerpt

Introduction

There has been an increasing interest in studying the experiences of university professors over the last two decades (Acker, 2003; Austin, 1992; Finklestein, 2010; Schuster & Finklestein, 2006). The demands of public trustees and policy-makers for greater transparency, particularly in terms of understanding how members of the academic profession spend their time, have provided a rationale for a range of studies on academic work (O'Meara, Terosky, & Neumann, 2008). Studies have explored, for example, faculty reward systems and tenure processes (Braskamp & Ory, 1994; Tierney & Rhoades, 1994), the importance of broadening the definition of scholarship (Boyer, 1990; O'Meara & Rice, 2005), and recruitment and socialization processes (Wulff & Austin, 2004) as well as the teaching and research loads and the general work organization of professors (Bertrand, 1991, 1993; Bertrand, Foucher, Jacob, Fabri, & Beaulieu, 1994).

While there has been a concerted and sustained scholarly interest in studying the professoriate in the United States and other countries with mature higher education systems, there has been relatively little research on the experiences of faculty members at Canadian institutions of higher education. A number of Canadian researchers have explored matters of inequity across faculty members at Canadian universities, such as issues of gender (Acker, 2003; Acker & Armenti, 2004; CAUT, 2010; Expert Panel on Women in University Research, 2012) and the concomitant rise in part-time, contingent academic workers (Field, Jones, Karram Stephenson, & Khoyetsyan, 2014; Muzzin, 2009; Rajagopal, 2002). However, these studies further reinforce the need for additional research to comprehensively examine the experiences of faculty members in Canadian universities. This paper is part of a body of scholarship exploring the experiences of full-time members at Canadian universities by drawing on the results of the 2007-2008 Changing Academic Profession (CAP) survey. Previous work related to this project includes studies of the remuneration of Canadian university faculty members (Jones & Weinrib, 2012); perceptions of early career academics (Jones et al., 2012); perceptions of faculty related to university governance and management (Metcalfe et al., 2011); gender differences in academic productivity (Metcalfe & Padilla-Gonzáles, 2013); the evolving balance between teaching and research in Canadian universities (Jones et al., 2014); and faculty job satisfaction (Weinrib et al., 2013). Our objective in this paper is to present and analyze data from the CAP project regarding the perceptions of Canadian university faculty on research and teaching in Canadian universities. For this particular paper, we provide a snapshot of data that relate to perceptions of teaching and research. Prior to examining the CAP survey in greater detail, we review relevant research on the academic profession in Canada as well as comment on the Canadian higher education "system."

The Canadian Context

Unlike the state-driven policy contexts of many of the countries participating in the CAP project, the higher education policy landscape in Canada is highly decentralized, as the provinces and territories govern the educational systems within their respective jurisdictions. Under the Canadian constitutional arrangement, the 10 provinces and three territories have legislative authority for all public policy relating to the organization and delivery of formal educational services within their jurisdictions, including higher education. There is no national ministry or binding policy lever for higher education. Universities function under provincial legislation, and most were created as autonomous notfor-profit corporations that receive public support through provincial operating grants. There is considerable variation in the funding arrangements and governance structures for higher education in each province and territory (Shanahan & Jones, 2007). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.