Academic Identity and Disciplinarity
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A powerpoint presentation to be given with workshop exploring the relationship between disciplinarity and academic practice, from Theme 9 of the Disciplinary Thinking OER project.

A powerpoint presentation to be given with workshop exploring the relationship between disciplinarity and academic practice, from Theme 9 of the Disciplinary Thinking OER project.

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  • We will return to this idea in the ‘personal theories of teaching’…
  • Ask participants to consider these categories and descriptions, the first version of which was written in 1994). They might do some of the following: Offer a critique of the categories. How would you revise them? Where in this schema (or in a revised one) would you locate your own discipline? Write a description of the ‘disciplinary group’ with which you associate your work and the nature of knowledge that emerges from this area This framework was written in the 1990s. How have conceptions of disciplines changed since then?
  • Do participants agree that this is a potential problem? How can this perceived problem be overcome? Are there ways in which the institution or its faculties can redress the balance? How is this specialisation reflected in curricula?
  • Note to workshop leader: You may wish to make a handout using Activity 5 set out in the Workshop guidance file referenced in the slide.
  • Note to workshop leader: You may wish to make a handout using Activity 7 set out in the Workshop guidance file referenced in the slide.
  • Notes Henkel in 2000 and later de Matos in 2012 have found that the tightening of the time allowed for the PhD (typically 3 years in the UK), has led to PhD supervisors to take on ‘safer’ candidates with more modest research projects. Would you say that this is the case in your discipline?

Academic Identity and Disciplinarity Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Photo: AerospaceSolution. CC 3.0http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi Photo: Alex Watson. CC BY-NC 2.0 Photo: NorwayTodayle%3AC-4_Systems.JPG http://www.flickr.com/photos/sifter/37077 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fil Photo: PaulWicks 6632/ e%3APortal_literatura_ikona.jpg http://en.wikipedia.org/ Photo: Hayonaton. CC 3.0 wiki/File:BrainGate.jpg http://commons.wikimedia.o rg/wiki/File %3AFriday_portrait_- _close_up.jpg Academic identity and disciplinarity A workshop exploring the relationship between disciplinarity and academic practice
  • 2. Session plan Photo: Andrei Ceru. CC 3.0ntroduction http://www.freephotogaleries.com/picture/Orange_ water/category/1-abstract_stockcademic identity/identitiesxploring disciplinarityisciplinarity and multidisciplinarityersonal theories of teaching
  • 3. Session Aimso articulate possible meanings for ‘academic identity’and its impact on practiceo consider disciplinary, interdisciplinary andmultidisciplinary ways of workingo observe and compare teaching and assessmentpractices in other fieldso set out ‘personal theories’ of teaching
  • 4. What might we mean by identity?In its very nature, being a member of adisciplinary community involves a sense ofidentity and personal commitment, a ‘way ofbeing in the world’, a matter of taking on ‘acultural frame that defines a great part ofone’s life’ (Geertz 1983, emphasis added).’ (cited in Becher and Trowler 2001)
  • 5. Discussion: How has your academic identity/ies developed?hat routes have you taken through one ormore disciplines to arrive in your currentposition?ow has your entry into the disciplinarycommunity shaped your thinking andpractice?
  • 6. Academic identity and teaching ‘One surely would assume that teacher identitiesare constructed also in interaction with manyother factors (e.g., past and present learningexperiences, observations of past teachers, andhow one is uniquely positioned, within thedepartment but also the wider society, in termsof the intersection of numerous other socio-cultural factors, including race, ethnicity, age,SES, religion, gender, sexuality, etc.)’ (Kreber, 2009)
  • 7. Activity 1: Academic identity and teaching – broader influencesfter reading Kreber’s quote on the previousslide, please identify up to 3 factors thatcontribute to your sense of ‘identity’, and thatinfluence your teaching. (It might also beuseful to think of these in terms of values orideals or Geertz’s ‘cultural frame’ on slide 4.)an you suggest specific ways in which yoursense of academic identity has an impactupon your teaching?
  • 8. Activity 2: Disciplinary artefacts Please present an object, picture, image ortext that you feel relates to your sense ofacademic identity.• Please describe your reasons for selecting the item.• What comments do other members of the group have?• How is your object similar or different from those chosen by group members?• Could you use an exercise like this with graduate students?
  • 9. Exploring disciplinarityPhoto: Airessantos. CC BY-NC 3.0http://www.fotopedia.com/items/airessantos-Fa3l9nWoTes
  • 10. Activity 3: Free writing At the top of the page, please write the nameof a discipline with which you would associateyourself. Now write continuously for 3-4minutes on the ways in which this disciplinaryidentity shapes your thinking or approach toacademic work.
  • 11. Activity 3: Free writing Please write a discipline with which youwould associate yourself. Now writecontinuously for 3-4 minutes on the ways inwhich this disciplinary identity shapes yourthinking or approach to academic work.hat are some of the central characteristics ofways of thinking and practising in yourdiscipline?
  • 12. Activity 3: Free writing Please write a discipline with which you wouldassociate yourself. Now write continuously for 3-4 minutes on the ways in which this disciplinaryidentity shapes your thinking or approach toacademic work.hat are some of the central characteristics ofways of thinking and practising in your discipline?
  • 13. Disciplinary groups Nature of knowledgePure sciences (e.g. Cumulative; atomistic (crystalline/tree-like); concernedphysics): ‘hard-pure’ with universals, quantities, simplification; impersonal; clear criteria for knowledge verification and obsolescence; consensus over significant questions to address; results in discover/explanationHumanities (e.g. history) Reiterative; holistic (organic/river-like); concerned withand pure social sciences particulars, qualities, complication; personal, value-laden;(e.g. anthropology): ‘soft- dispute over criteria for knowledge verification andpure’ obsolescence; lack of consensus over significant questions to address; results in understanding/interpretationTechnologies (e.g.) Purposive; pragmatic (know-how via hard knowledge);mechanical engineering, concerned with mastery of physical environment; appliesclinical medicine): ‘hard- heuristic approaches; uses both qualitative andapplied) quantitative approaches; criteria for judgement are purposive, functional; results in products/techniquesApplied social science Functional; utilitarian (know-how via soft knowledge);(e.g. education, law, concerned with enhancement of professional practice;social administrations): uses case studies and case law to a large extent; results in‘soft-applied’ protocols / procedures From Becher and Trowler, 2001. p. 36
  • 14. Activity 4: Please consider Becher and Trowler’s table of disciplines on the previous slide ffer a critique of the categories. How would you revise them? here in this schema (or in a revised one) would you locate your own discipline? rite a description of the ‘disciplinary group’ with which you associate your work and the nature of knowledge that emerges from this area his framework was written in the 1990s. How have conceptions of disciplines changed since then? What
  • 15. Discussion point: What is your response toHenkel’s point about disciplines andspecialisation? ‘As disciplines subdivide, multiply and become more specialised, they become a more disintegrative force as far as the enterprise [university] is concerned. It is more difficult for their members to make connections with each other, let alone across disciplinary Photo: Jim Forrest. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimforest/3616653419/ boundaries …’ Henkel, 2000, p. 20
  • 16. Activity 5: Disciplinary perspectives lease see Activity 5 on the Workshop guidance file for this workshop (DiscThinkAcademicidentityWorkshopguidance.doc). Photo: DioramaSky. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 http://www.flickr.com/photos/diorama_sky/2975796332/
  • 17. Interdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity f courses, disciplines are not single, fixed, http://www.flickr.com/photos/ellasdad/457521627/ monolithic entities. ncreasingly, students and academics work in interdisciplinary orPhoto: EllasDad. CC BY 2.0 multidisciplinary contexts.
  • 18. Activity 6: Interdisciplinary/ multidisciplinary worklease think of an example of interdisciplinary (ormultidisciplinary) work that you have beeninvolved with. This could be a piece of research, ashared course, a project, etc. Please jot downsome notes about• a brief account of the work• ways in which different subject practices were evident• Benefits of working within a mutidisciplinary group• Challenges of working in a multidisciplinary.
  • 19. Activity 7: Devising and solving interdisciplinary problems lease see Activity 7 on the associated Workshop guidance file for this theme. (DiscThinkAcademicidentityWorkshopguidance.doc)Photo: Andrei Ceru. CC 3.0http://www.freephotogaleries.com/picture/Historical_wall_texture/category/7-textures
  • 20. Devising/solving interdisciplinary problemslenary discussion about the task:• What worked well in this task?• Did your group draw on the different disciplinary backgrounds of its members?• How could the creation or performance of the problems be improved?• How could an activity like this be used in
  • 21. What does this mean for practice? Photo: Wonderlane. CC BY http://www.flickr.com/photos/wonderlane/37531816/
  • 22. Teaching practices and departmental cultures Kreber (2009) reminds us that sometimesteaching, learning and assessment practicesare attributed to disciplines, but may equallyhave much to do with the local culture ofdepartments or other internal universitystructures.
  • 23. Personal theories of teaching ‘However, although both the disciplinary anddepartmental context likely exert an influence on theways in which faculty approach teaching andassessment, individual teachers’ “personal theories ofteaching” as well as their perceptions of self, surelyalso play a significant role. “Personal theories ofteaching” refer to how we conceptualize teaching andlearning (e.g., do we think of teaching as transmissionof information and of learning as accumulation offacts, or do we think of teaching as promotingconceptual change and of learning as a transformativeprocess possibly leading to the creation ofknowledge?)’ - Kreber, 2009, drawing on Prosser and Trigwell, 1999
  • 24. Activity 8: What are your personal theories of teaching?lease jot down 2 or 3 ‘personal theories’ orgeneral principles that characterise yourapproach to learning, teaching andassessment.
  • 25. Identity, disciplinarity and the curriculumTraditionally for a would-be academic theprocess of developing that identity andcommitment may well begin as anundergraduate, but is likely to be at its mostintense at the postgraduate stage, culminatingin the award of a doctorate…’ (Becher andTrowler 2001)
  • 26. Postgraduate study and academic identity formation Structures that determine the nature of a PhD alsohave an impact on the type of researchers that areaccepted onto PhD programmes and the type ofresearch that is carried out. (Frederico Braga de Matos, unpublished PhD, 2012)hat kind of subject specialists are you hoping that yourgraduate courses inspire?hat would be the attributes of a newly qualified PhD in com/picture/Hand_made_vas http://www.freephotogaleries.your field? es/category/1-abstract_stockow does your graduate curriculum support thedevelopment of these qualities? Photo: Andrei Ceru. CC 3.0
  • 27. Activity 9: Disciplinarity as part of the curriculum Please consider a teaching programme on whichyou work. (This could be an entire degree course or asubsection.)here are the opportunities for students to talk aboutwhat it means to be a discipline specialist (eg. Abiologist, an engineer, a historian, etc.)ow could tacit awareness of the discipline (or
  • 28. Referencesecher and Trowler (2001) ‘Academic Disciplines’ in AcademicTribes and Territories. 2nd Edition. SRHE/Open University Press.raga de Matos, Frederico (2012) Unpublished PhD: Changeand Perception of Change in the PhD in Social Sciences. A casestudy. UCL.enkel, M. (2000) Academic Identities and Policy Change inHigher Education. London: JKP.reber, C. (2009) The University and its disciplines: Teachingand learning within and beyond disciplinary boundaries, Ed.
  • 29. Learning Resource MetadataField/Element Value:Title Disciplinary Thinking – Academic identity and disciplinarity: presentation Presentation slides for a workshop on academic identity, disciplinarity andDescription interdisciplinarity in HE teaching and learning.Theme Academic identity and disciplinaritySubject HE - EducationAuthor Colleen McKenna & Jane Hughes: HEDERA, 2012Owner The University of BathAudience Educational developers in accredited programmes & courses in higher education.Issue Date 24/05/2012Last updated Date 07/08/2012Version FinalPSF Mapping A5, K1, K2, K3, PV1, PV3License Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License. ukoer, education, discthink, disciplinary thinking, hedera, university of bath,Keywords academic identity, disciplinarity, multidisciplinarity, and interdisciplinarity