chapter  6
Faculty Development as Applied Educational Anthropology
ByLauren Miller Griffith
Pages 14

Although I worked for two years in a faculty development center, I did not receive any formal instruction in educational anthropology. My primary interest when I started graduate school was in the anthropology of performance, with a regional focus on Latin America. My secondary interests in tourism and how people learn developed in service of my primary focus. As I pursued this topic, I found that while the anthropological and educational bodies of literature often talked past one another, there was a great deal of complementary material to be found in each corpus. This helped me develop my personal philosophy on teaching and learning in higher education, which I have used in my own teaching and in my work as a faculty development specialist. I conducted the bulk of my international field research on the Afro-Brazilian

martial art capoeira during 2008, just as the economy was entering a major recession. I still remember the day I went to the ATM and realized that the exchange rate between the Brazilian real and the US dollar was less than two to one. I immediately realized the implications this would have for how much research I could afford to conduct, but was slower to realize what this meant for my prospects as a job candidate. According to research conducted by the National Science Foundation, job prospects for new PhDs continue to decline, having reached their lowest point in more than a decade (June 2014). Although the outlook is slightly better for those in social science than in other disciplines, this is worrisome news for those approaching graduation. Today, there are fewer tenure-track positions open to new PhDs and some are skeptical that such job opportunities will ever rebound to pre-recession levels; therefore, many individuals will by default have to find employment outside of academia (Patel 2015). This problem is not limited to the US; governments throughout the world are encouraging reforms aimed at improving the employability of new PhDs (see Cuthbert and Molla 2015 for a review of Australia’s work in this area).