Teaching, Learning, and Rating

Gaye Tuchman

in Wannabe U

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780226815299
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226815282 | DOI:
Teaching, Learning, and Rating

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This chapter reports how professors reacted when, over a ten-year period, the central administration at Wannabe University began to emphasize the need to improve the instruction of undergraduates. That emphasis on teaching undergraduates, and auditing how instructors perform this task, highlight an essential contradiction in contemporary American research universities. As professors see it, and as has been the case at American research universities since the post-World War II period, research universities stress research. Professors' careers are based on their contribution to the scholarship of their fields. However, to sell the quality of their education to potential students and their parents, research universities boast of how they rank in the annual U.S. News & World Report publication “America's Best Colleges.” To produce its ratings, that magazine uses indicators that stress aspects of undergraduate education, not research. The chapter includes some discussion of the innovations (or “tricks”) involving instruction that Wannabe introduced to improve its ranking.

Keywords: teaching; learning; rating; ranking; academic administrator; audit culture; Wannabe University; accountability regime; central administration

Chapter.  8433 words. 

Subjects: Higher and Further Education

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