What price success? The impact of the quest for student satisfaction on university academics
Evidence of student satisfaction with a specific university study experience is often used to justify ongoing investment in the particular processes and pedagogies employed within that 'successful' scenario. This, of course, pre-supposes both the legitimacy of the particular mechanisms used to assess 'satisfaction' in the first place and the sustainability and desirability of the practices that appear to be positively correlated with these good results. Literature relating to the first of these issues - how to assess or measure 'quality' in university teaching - is vast and wide reaching and includes sustained efforts to identify 'the' essential characteristics of quality teaching in university contexts. Literature relating to the second issue - whether or not a particular 'successful' teaching experience is worth the price that has to be paid to achieve it - is less frequently explored. With a commitment to both the pursuit of quality university teaching and a concern for the physical and emotional well being of university staff, this paper draws upon the resources of post-structural feminism and explores two different sets of data related to university courses taught by one particular academic. The paper aims to identify what students clearly and consistently identified as the key features of a 'satisfying' teaching experience. From this basis, it explores reflections on these teaching experiences drawn from the academic's personal journal. In juxtaposing these two sets of data, the paper identifies significant differences in the way the same 'successful' teaching outcome is experienced by the students and the academic and seeks to highlight the implications (for university staff) of an unproblematic acceptance of students' criteria for measuring both teaching quality and student satisfaction.
International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning
Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development