Teaching and Tenure in the Vocationalized University

Sean Murray


Neoliberalism has effected numerous changes in terms of how institutions of higher education define themselves and their relationships with students, parents, and the business world.  One specific change that has been researched by scholars is the increased vocational emphasis colleges are giving to their missions and curricula.  Henry Giroux, for instance, has written extensively about what the vocationalizing and corporatizing of higher learning might mean for education and democracy itself.  One specific, related implication is how this focus on career training is shaping the pedagogical experiences of tenure-track faculty.  To some extent, many schools include student course evaluations as a part of the reappointment and tenure process.  But even at schools where this component is deemphasized or not included, it’s nearly impossible for faculty to ignore how students are rating them online.  This article will trace the ascendancy of both vocationalized higher education and course evaluations, as well as offer possibilities for addressing these developments.

Keywords: higher education, neoliberalism, vocationalism, tenure, student course evaluations


higher education; neoliberalism; vocationalism; tenure; student course evaluations

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ISSN 1715-0094  Workplace