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Research Spotlight: Sandra Acker

Gender & Academe

How do gender issues impact on careers and workplace cultures in academia?

Sandra Acker’s research interests highlight gender and other equity issues in the careers and workplace cultures of teachers, graduate students, academics and administrators in settings from elementary schools to universities.

Her book on teachers’ workplace culture in a British school was described as “…one of the most important, non-judgmental books on teaching of the last two decades.” This ethnographic research called attention to the heavy workload of elementary school teachers and the way in which the teaching profession incorporated notions of altruistic ‘women’s work’ into its normative expectations.

Sandra’s recent work has focused on universities. Her latest book, co-edited with Anne Wagner and Kimine Mayuzumi, is titled Whose University Is It, Anyway? Power and Privilege on Gendered Terrain.

She has conducted higher education research with collaborators including Jo-Anne Dillabough, Grace Feuerverger, Eve Haque, Linda Muzzin, Elizabeth Smyth and Michelle Webber, aided by many OISE graduate students. These projects have considered gender issues in the lives of women and men academics in professional fields; the spread of the research culture in faculties of education; gender and academic leadership in Australia, Britain and Canada; key features of the graduate student experience; and the tenure process in Ontario universities.

The recent study of tenure and a new project on ‘accountability governance’ explore the impact of changing university practices on academic work. These investigations call attention to gender and other divisions and inequalities among faculty and ways in which academic work is regulated and disciplined by institutional factors and external pressures.

Her research is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Sandra Acker is a professor in the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education, cross-appointed to the Department of Theory and Policy Studies in Education.

Sandra's Faculty Profile

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