Faculty of Social Sciences

Den pedagogiska skickligheten och akademins väktare: Kollegial bedömning vid rekrytering av universitetslärare

  • Date: 12/15/2017 at 1:15 PM
  • Location: Sal IX, Universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala
  • Lecturer: Levander, Sara
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  • Organizer: Institutionen för pedagogik, didaktik och utbildningsstudier
  • Contact person: Levander, Sara
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This thesis develops knowledge on educational proficiency as an object of assessment in academic hiring of university teachers. Hiring processes are essential for the very formation of academia, and peers involved in these processes have an institutional gate-keeping function. University teachers are an important resource for both research and teaching and thus student learning.

Consequently, educational proficiency is crucial for the development of higher education institutions. The analysis is informed by a discursive perspective and by research and conceptualizations on educational proficiency, and peer review as a practice of evaluation. The empirical material consists of full dossiers and external peer review letters, drawn from a comprehensive research-intensive university in Sweden.

The first study explores the weight and care peer reviewers attribute to candidates’ educational credentials in the promotion of senior lecturers to full professor. The second study examines educational proficiency in the recruitment of full professors. The meaning and the value attributed to educational proficiency in peer review letters are analyzed, and a set of interrelated themes is developed. The third study investigates the assessment of educational proficiency in the recruitment of senior lecturers. The themes previously developed are further explored as are strategies of intertextuality used by reviewers.

Educational proficiency is attributed a variation of aspects, albeit only a few of those are assigned special value: teaching experience and PhD supervision appears as the touchstone of educational proficiency. Although teaching experience refers to various types of experiences, emphasis is on scope of teaching, and almost no attention is given to the teaching-research nexus. This way, the epistemic foundation of teaching is disregarded. Further, by summarizing and listing merits, reviewers equal experience with proficiency. Although variations do occur across scientific domains, peer reviewers’ affiliation and assignment, the deepest impression conveyed are the similarities. Findings imply that educational proficiency primarily relates to internal and locally embedded activities, and is understood as a technical and generic process. The thesis discusses and problematizes peer review as an expert evaluation, and illuminates how peer review in academic hiring is positioned in the intersection between institutional values and academic cultures.