Week 4 – Power Maintaining/Sharing in the Institution

Brie Scolaro

Captured in written note, my mind reflects this week on power and powersharing primarily in academia (which is what I am discussing in my Pedagogy class) and how these dynamics show up in the field I work in (for-profit mental health care). The role of one’s “Ego” is strong here – someone worked hard to be in charge, to feel this power, and what does one gain by equalizing that power. In my mind, there is so much to be gained in society, in the economy, in our intelligence/science from collaboration, ideation, and open access to all knowledge.

4 thoughts on “Week 4 – Power Maintaining/Sharing in the Institution

  1. Jen Hoyer (she/her)

    Brie, I’m so glad you brought up the theme of surveillance! That is such a mechanism of power; I’d love to talk more in class tomorrow about the infrastructures that enable / perpetuate surveillance, and the tactics we can use (especially in the realm of digital humanities) to take back that power for ourselves by controlling how we are surveilled.
    I also like the way you used “collaboration” while imagining what would feel better. Collaboration is such an important part of power sharing, for me. It would be interesting to think about where we see collaboration in this week’s readings, and where we really don’t.

  2. Adrianna Rios (she/her)

    I agree Brie, sharing power seems to be the best solution. But as you point out Ego plays a big role. I don’t know how many people in Academia(those at the top) would be willing to share that power with others. How would this even look if we find a way to put it into practice at an institutional level?

    1. Sean Patrick Palmer

      Power sharing also has to have an institutional buy in for it to work. Even if you get your colleagues or your dept chair on board, the administration could say “No”, an d then your options become more limited.

      Institutional power can be a huge issue.

  3. Katina Rogers (she/her)

    I am so glad you brought up the question of grades! Academia has relatively few ‘currencies’, and grades are definitely one of them—one that segues into prestige at later career stages. It can be really powerful to decline the premise, for instance by adopting a practice of ungrading. I also tend to think that most of the ways we measure success in higher ed are a bit intellectually lazy; there are so many other ways we could assess work quality, whether in a classroom or a tenure file, than what we currently tend to use.

    This website has a rubric that I created (in my consulting role) for dissertation evaluation: https://nextgendiss.hcommons.org/evaluation/. It’s still a very standard looking rubric, but it very intentionally does not address the question of format. A work of any format could blow these criteria out of the water—some examples are on the site—and as scholars, we should be able to determine that even if the structure of something looks unfamiliar. It’s also a question of opening up tacit knowledge—I don’t know about you all, but in my time as a student, I had only a very murky idea of what a ‘good’ dissertation should be. It doesn’t need to be a mystery, it shouldn’t be up to the whim of an advisory, and it doesn’t need to be rigid, either.

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