Pursued by excellence: rewards and the performance culture in higher education

Taylor, Imogen (2007) Pursued by excellence: rewards and the performance culture in higher education. Social Work Education, 26 (5). pp. 504-519. ISSN 0261-5479

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In the UK, government is both concerned with improving the performance of public services, including higher education, and with ensuring that the public is aware of improvements in services, to convince the public of the effectiveness of the current regime. Success is both an effect of and a dynamic in the process of evaluating performance, and increasingly 'excellence' is established as a performance outcome. Drawing on a critical review of relevant theory and research, primarily from the UK, Australia and the USA, and illustrated by the author's experience of winning a National Teaching Fellowship, this paper examines teaching excellence in the context of two recent schemes: the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme and the Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. The performance culture in the public sector and the use of excellence as a success criterion are critically analysed. Assumptions about the transfer of excellent practice are explored. Questions about the interaction of competition and equalities issues are raised. The paper ends with arguing that if excellence schemes are to be an established feature of public sector systems, then we must develop strategies to enable them to be implemented equitably, transparently and fit for purpose.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This original conceptualisation of excellence in higher education applies social policy concepts of the performance culture to the increasing pervasiveness of excellence competitions, a 2007 priority for Higher Education Academy research. A systematic analysis of literature on 'excellence' in higher education is complemented by drawing on Taylor's experience of winning a National Teaching Fellowship. It has been disseminated internationally, including an invited keynote at an International Symposium on Excellence in Teaching, Soochow University, Taiwan, 2005, attended by Taiwan's university elite; and a presentation at the Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Vancouver, 2005.
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Social Work and Social Care
Depositing User: Imogen Taylor
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 21:12
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2012 09:13
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/30199
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