Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 4

academia Related Abstracts

4 Politics in Academia: How the Diffusion of Innovation Relates to Professional Capital

Authors: Autumn Rooms Cypres, Barbara Driver


The purpose of this study is to extend discussions about innovations and career politics. Research questions that grounded this effort were: How does an academic learn the unspoken rules of the academy? What happens politically to an academic’s career when their research speaks against the grain of society? Do professors perceive signals that it is time to move on to another institution or even to another career? Epistemology and Methods: This qualitative investigation was focused on examining perceptions of academics. Therefore an open-ended field study, based on Grounded Theory, was used. This naturalistic paradigm (Lincoln & Guba,1985) was selected because it tends to understand information in terms of whole, of patterns, and in relations to the context of the environment. The technique for gathering data was the process of semi-structured, in-depth interviewing. Twenty five academics across the United States were interviewed relative to their career trajectories and the politics and opportunities they have encountered in relation to their research efforts. Findings: The analysis of interviews revealed four themes: Academics are beholden to 2 specific networks of power that influence their sense of job security; the local network based on their employing university and the national network of scholars who share the same field of research. The fights over what counts as research can and does drift from the intellectual to the political, and personal. Academic were able to identify specific instances of shunning and or punishment from their colleagues related directly to the dissemination of research that spoke against the grain of the local or national networks. Academics identified specific signals from both of these networks indicating that their career was flourishing or withering. Implications: This research examined insights from those who persevered when the fights over what and who counts drifted from the intellectual to the political, and the personal. Considerations of why such drifts happen were offered in the form of a socio-political construct called Fit, which included thoughts on hegemony, discourse, and identity. This effort reveals the importance of understanding what professional capital is relative to job security. It also reveals that fear is an enmeshed and often unspoken part of the culture of Academia. Further research to triangulate these findings would be helpful within international contexts.

Keywords: Politics, academia, context, job security

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3 Gender Mainstreaming in Kazakhstan: A University Audit as the First Stage to Inform Policy

Authors: A. S. CohenMiller, Jenifer Lewis, Gwen McEvoy, Kristy Kelly


This international, interdisciplinary study presents the first stage of a gender mainstreaming project within one university as a microcosm of society in Kazakhstan to make concrete policy recommendations and set up the potential for new research to monitor change over time. Local, regional, and UN representatives have noted the critical need and interest in gender related issues in Kazakhstan. Gender mainstreaming has been noted as a strategy to understand and address gender equality and equity such as within the academy in exploring and examining organizational/management issues, university decision-making and leadership, assessing the overall academic climate, discrimination issues, hiring and promotion, and student recruitment and retention. This presentation provides preliminary findings from the university gender audit, highlighting key elements for moving forward in gender mainstreaming. The full study analyzes findings from the full gender audit including interview with key stakeholders, time-use surveys, participant-observations and interviews with female students, staff and faculty, and reviews of formal organizational policies and practices.

Keywords: Policy, Eurasia, academia, Equity, Gender Mainstreaming, Kazakhstan, gender audit, time-use survey

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2 Challenges Associated with Recruitment of Professional Doctorate Degree Holders into Ghanaian Universities

Authors: Joseph E. Cobbinah, Abigail A. Aryeh-Adjei


Over the years, entry into the academia in any Ghanaian university requires an advanced research degree, more preferably traditional doctorate (PhD or DPhil). It is however argued that PhD is more research intensive, so since university teaching involves a lot of research, those having traditional doctorate have good research background to teach in a university and are thus recruited as lecturers. However, in the last ten years, a reasonable number of academics enter Ghanaian universities with professional doctorate degrees, which hitherto was considered to be only suitable for industry, because it gives individuals with just basic research skills needed for professional practice, unlike the traditional PhD which is research intensive degree. Currently, there are a reasonable number of professional doctorate degree holders with qualifications like DBA, EdD, PsychD, DPharm, EngD, among others in various departments in many Ghanaian universities. Maybe, because such degree holders also use the title Dr, some university authorities put them at par with their counterparts with traditional doctorate, although some lecturers with PhD seem to look down upon those with traditional doctorate degrees and this has created some tension amongst those academics. This makes their promotions and holding of university academic positions very problematic in some ways. This paper therefore seeks to investigate the types of professional doctorate degree holders working as lecturers in some selected universities in Ghana and the challenges associated with their recruitment, acceptability and proper integration into universities’ teaching and learning. The paper adopted qualitative research methodology. In all, respondents from three state-owned and privately owned universities were involved in the study. Administrators, lecturers, heads of departments and deans of faculty were interviewed to assess the challenges associated with the recruitment of professional doctorate degree holders and any problems they face in the departments they work. It became evident that, although some lecturers enter the academia with professional doctorate degrees, their counterparts seem not to give them the recognition and respect they deserve. Although there is little or no evidence that professional doctorate degree holders are under performing, recruiting professional doctorate degree holders does not only become a challenge, but also their progression into the university’s promotion ladder become very slow compared to their counterparts with traditional PhD degrees.

Keywords: academia, lecturers, professional doctorate, Ghanaian universities, orate

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1 The Imperative for Disability Studies as an Independent Area of Enquiry in Indian Academia

Authors: Anita Ghai


The present paper explores the imperative to establish disability studies as an independent area of academic inquiry in India through the establishment of specific programmes in disability studies. The case study of the efforts made by the Ambedkar University, Delhi, to develop such programs and courses shall be used to substantiate this imperative as well as to explore some of the challenges entailed. The paper shall explore the certain extent aspects of relevant scholarship in the area of disability studies in India today and critically reflect on the perspectives of disability in this scholarship. The study of disability in India has hitherto been the prerogative of special education, rehabilitation psychology, and social work departments. While instances of these departments adopting critical approaches to disability can be identified, their empirical focus has perpetuated the production of disability as the site of suffering and oppression. The complex cultural, phenomenological, historical and economic discourses within which disability is embedded can be better captured within distinctive programmes that have disability sui generis as their focus. Such programs would foreground disability as an epistemology, which universalizes the study of disability from disabled people alone to an analysis of various other groups who have been historically marginalized. It will also play an important role in recuperating disability from a state of alterity. The interdisciplinary nature of disability studies offers an opportunity to integrate perspectives from the humanities and the social sciences in the proposed programs. Some of the challenges or rather aspects of reflection that emerge in the course of developing these programs are the criteria for determining the suitability of faculty to teach these programs and the challenges in identifying faculty and in addressing any apprehensions about career prospects that prospective students might have. The manner in which these concerns are being addressed through the collaboration of expertise as well as through the interdisciplinary and flexible nature of the program shall be addressed in the course of the paper. In conclusion, the paper shall foreground the need for disability studies programs in India, the re-appropriation of existing scholarship in the process of formulation these programs, emerging concerns and the manner in which these concerns will be addressed.

Keywords: Epistemology, academia, Disability Studies, India

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