chapter  1
20 Pages

The State of Research with Faculty Identities in Higher Educational Classrooms and Institutional Contexts

ByMark A. Chesler

Faculty members are not simply lone scholars and researchers, isolated teachers, or freewheeling entrepreneurs in the university. Much of what they do-or can imagine doing-is affected by the disciplinary, departmental, and organizational context within which they work, teach, and learn and by their relationships with their peers and students. The different missions, operating structures, cultures, and resources of varied higher educational organizations affect support for and resistance to departmental/peer climates and classroom experiences that might improve the quality of life for all faculty, especially for white women faculty and men and women faculty of color. They also impact faculty members’ pedagogical options and encounters with students. These organizational contexts often are not conducive to good teaching and learning, let alone to creating effective and

diverse environments in which faculty can realize the goals of a critical multicultural community and the creation of generations of students prepared to live in a diverse democracy. Any serious analysis of the professional lives and practices of faculty members as well as of race, gender, and class equity or discrimination in higher education must take account of the organizational cultures and structures within which faculty operate.