Teaching, Tenure, and Collegiality
Confucian Relationality in an Age of Measurable Outcomes
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Questions universities’ increasing reliance on market-oriented metrics to determine their strategic directions and gauge faculty productivity.
Teaching, Tenure, and Collegiality espouses the concept of relationality—the idea that people’s activities necessarily emerge through contextual engagement with others—as an alternative to the "publish or perish" ethos in higher education. Building on research by comparative philosophers, Mary K. Chang constructs a concept of Confucian relationality and engages it to question universities’ increasing reliance on market-oriented metrics to determine their strategic directions and gauge faculty productivity. Using a process-oriented approach that features change, the embodied connectedness of people, and the extensive impact of personal cultivation, Chang situates higher educational institutions as continually constructed by people's actions in ways that cannot be wholly described or quantified—and need not be. Values are powerful in educational contexts because they direct how administrators, faculty, and students focus limited energy. Teaching, Tenure, and Collegiality reevaluates what universities normatively value and offers a holistically expansive view that positions faculty as experts and learners whose activity is inseparable from the contexts constructed by the relationships from which they emerge.
Mary K. Chang is an independent scholar, with a PhD in Educational Foundations from the University of Hawai'i. She is coeditor (with Teresa Vilardi) of Writing-Based Teaching: Essential Practices and Enduring Questions, also published by SUNY Press.
“By applying the concept of Confucian relationality, Chang offers a new way to look at how higher education is structured as well as evaluated. Faculty will find the sections on tenure and collegiality especially helpful.” — A. G. Rud, coauthor of The Philosophy of Chinese Moral Education: A History