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Sandra Acker

Sandra Acker
Professor Emerita

phone: (416) 978-0425

Department: Social Justice Education

Research Overview

My research interests lie in changes in academic work, the social production of academic research, gender and academe, women academics in leadership positions, doctoral student and graduate experiences, university tenure and other evaluative practices.

Academic History

PhD, University of Chicago

MA, University of Chicago

BA, Wayne State University

Teaching Overview

The most recent courses I taught were Women and Higher Education and Studying the Graduate Student Experience. In previous years I taught courses on Women and the Educational System, Qualitative Methods, and Teachers' Work.

Representative Publications

Acker, S., & Millerson, D. (2018). Leading the academic department: A mother–daughter story. Educational Sciences, 8(2), 64;
Acker, S., Wagner, A., & McGinn, M. (2018). Research leaders and student collaborators: Insights from Canada. In L. Gornall, B. Thomas, & L. Sweetman (Eds.), Exploring consensual leadership in higher education (pp. 113–128). London: Bloomsbury.
Acker, S. (2017). Being an academic is the key to who I am—a memoir. Higher Education Research & Development. 36(3), 637-639.
Acker, S. & Haque, E. (2017). Left out in the academic field: Doctoral graduates deal with a decade of disappearing jobs. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 47(3), 101-119.
Acker, S. & Wagner, A. (2017) Feminist scholars working around the neoliberal university. Gender and Education, Advance online publication, doi:10.1080/09540253.2017.1296117.
Acker, S., & Webber, M. (2017). Made to measure: Early career academics in the university workplace. Higher Education Research & Development, 36(3), 541-551.
Acker, S. (2016, September 15). Success and failure CVs: Academic accountability or smoke and mirrors? University Affairs.
Acker, S., & Webber, M. (2016). The tenure review process in Ontario universities. In L. Shultz & M. Viczko (Eds.), Assembling and governing the higher education institution (pp. 233-55). London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
Acker, S., & Webber, M. (2016). Uneasy academic subjectivities in the contemporary Ontario university. In J. Smith, J. Rattray, T. Peseta, & D. Loads (Eds.), Identity work in the contemporary university (pp. 61-75). Rotterdam, Netherlands: Sense.
Acker, S., Webber, M., & Smyth, E. (2016). Continuity or change? Gender, family, and academic work for junior faculty in Ontario universities. National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Journal About Women in Higher Education, 9(1), 1-38.
Acker, S. & Haque, E. (2015). The struggle to make sense of doctoral study. Higher Education Research and Development, 34(2), 229-241.
Acker, S. (2014). A foot in the revolving door? Women academics in lower middle management. Higher Education Research and Development, 33(1), 73-85.
Acker, S., Webber, M. & Smyth, E. (2012). Tenure troubles and equity matters in Canadian academe. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 33(5), 743-761.
Acker, S. (2012). Chairing and caring: Gendered dimensions of leadership in academe. Gender and Education, 24(4), 411-428.
Wagner, A., Acker, S., & Mayuzumi, K. (Eds.) (2008). Whose University is it Anyway? Power and privilege on gendered terrain. Canadian Scholars Press.
Research Grants and Contracts

2017-2021 Academic Researchers in Challenging Times. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Grant (Principal Investigator).

2009 - 2014 The New Scholarly Subject: Academic Work, Subjectivities and Accountability Governance. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Standard Grant (Co-Investigator). Michelle Webber (Brock University), Principal Investigator.

2006 - 2010 Disciplining Academics: The Tenure Process in Social Sciences. Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Standard Grant (Principal Investigator).

1999 - 2003 Traditions and Transitions in Teacher Education: The Experiences of Teacher Educators in Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan, 1945-2002. Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Standard Grant (Principal Investigator).

1995 - 1998 Making a Difference: Feminization and the Changing Climate of University-based Professional Education. Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Strategic Grant (Principal Investigator).

1990 - 1991 Students, Supervisors and the Social Science Research Training Process. Economic and Social Research Council (U.K.) (Principal Investigator).

Honours and Awards

2014 Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations, Status of Women Committee, Award of Distinction, for research on women academics and mentorship of graduate students (presented February 2015)

2001 Article award, Canadian Association of Foundations in Education (CAFE), for J. Wyn, S. Acker & E. Richards (2000), Making a difference: Women in management in Australian and Canadian faculties of education. Gender and Education, 12 (4): 435-447.

2000 Canadian Historical Association Hilda Neatby Prize, Honorable Mention, English Language Article, for E. Smyth, S. Acker, P. Bourne and A. Prentice (Eds.) (1999), Challenging Professions: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Women's Professional Work (University of Toronto Press, 1999)

1998 Research award for mid-career achievement, Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education, presented June 6, 1998

Professional Activities

Reviewer for numerous journals, including Gender and Education, British Journal of Sociology of Education, Higher Education Research & Development, Studies in Higher Education, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, and others. Reviewer of proposals or manuscripts for publishers, including Routledge, UBC Press, McGill-Queen's University Press, and Palgrave-Macmillan. Many conferences attended, including Gender and Education, AERA, International Sociology of Education, Gender, Work and Organization, Academic Identities, Pacific Sociological Association.