ERIC Number: EJ1139530
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Student Evaluation of Teaching as a Disciplinary Mechanism: A Foucauldian Analysis
Hou, Ya-Wen; Lee, Che-Wei; Gunzenhauser, Michael G.
Review of Higher Education, v40 n3 p325-352 Spr 2017
Since the 1960s, student evaluation of teaching (or SET) has been prevalent in higher education and frequently controversial (Benton & Cashin, 2014; Pounder, 2007; Valsan & Sproule, 2008). Although it originated in the Anglo-American context, SET is now used worldwide (Kulik, 2001; Spooren, Mortelmans, & Thijssen, 2012). SET is an activity of value judgment that often involves its participants' moral sensitivity and the operation of ethical agency and behavior. In their project, the authors seek to provide an alternative understanding of SET through an examination of power relations underlying SET and to address how these power relations might influence the advancement of productive, transformative pedagogy and professional, ethical relations among SET participants. In this article, they address an apparent lack of philosophical language with which to make sense of the conflicting nature of SET, taking into account the complex, invisible, and ethical power relations that it enacts. In this paper, the authors therefore propose a conceptual metaphor--namely, SET as a disciplinary mechanism--to analyze how SET's power relations operate, how such relations affect its actors, and how to identify the ethical elements inherent in it. They draw on the work of Michel Foucault to establish an ethical basis for SET and provide productive implications for advancing higher-education pedagogy.
Descriptors: Student Evaluation of Teacher Performance, Power Structure, Ethics, Teacher Student Relationship, Discipline, Philosophy, Higher Education, College Faculty, College Students, Administrators, Punishment, Quality Control, Responsibility, Transformative Learning
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A