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Sandra Acker
Professor Emerita

phone: (416) 978-0425
email: sandra.acker@utoronto.ca  

Department: Social Justice Education

Research Overview

My research interests focus on women and higher education, and on careers and workplace cultures of teachers, graduate students and academics. Among other book publications are (with Anne Wagner and Kimine Mayuzumi, eds) Whose University Is It, Anyway? Power and Privilege on Gendered Terrain (Sumach Press, 2008); The Realities of Teachers' Work: Never a Dull Moment (Cassell & Continuum, 1999); Gendered Education (Open University Press, 1994). I have published in numerous journals, including Gender and Education and British Journal of Sociology of Education, and I regularly review submissions for these journals and others in the higher education area. I have directed several SSHRC-funded research projects, most recently 'Disciplining Academics'--a study of the tenure process in Ontario universities, and I am currently a co-investigator on a study together with Michelle Webber from Brock University of academics' responses to new contexts of accountability.

Academic History

My degrees are from Wayne State University (BA) and the University of Chicago (MA, PhD). After a few years of teaching at local Chicago universities, I moved to the UK and taught in the School of Education of the University of Bristol from 1972-1990. From 1991-2011 I was employed at OISE. I am a sociologist of education with particular interests in higher education, in gender and in teachers' careers. During that period, my department changed its name several times from Sociology in Education, to Sociology and Equity Studies in Education (SESE), to Humanities, Social Sciences and Social Justice in Education. I have also been cross-appointed to the Higher Education program at OISE. I chaired SESE from 1999-2002 and served as Associate Dean in the School of Graduate Studies from 2004-2006. I retired in 2011 but remain professionally active.

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. (in press). A foot in the revolving door?  Women academics in lower middle management. Higher Education Research and Development.

Acker, S. & Webber, M. (2013, in press). Academia as the (com)promised land for women? In L. Gornall, C. Cook, L. Daunton, J. Salisbury & B. Thomas (Eds.), Academic Working Lives: Experience, Practice and Change. London: Bloomsbury.

Acker, S. (2012). Chairing and caring: Gendered dimensions of leadership in academe.  Gender and Education, 24(4), 411-428.

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. (2011). Reflections on supervision and culture: What difference does difference make?  Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 48(4), 413-420.

Acker, S. (2011) Advising and mentoring graduate students in the gendered university. In B. Bank (Ed.), Gender and higher education. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Acker, S. (2010). Gendered games in academic leadership.  International Studies in Sociology of Education  20(2), 129-152.

Acker, S. & Haque, E. (2010). Doctoral students and a future in academe?  In L. McAlpine & G. Akerlind (Eds.), Becoming an Academic: International Perspectives.  Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Dillabough, J-A & Acker, S. (2008).  ‘Gender at work’ in teacher education: history, society and global reform.  In A. Chan & D. Fisher (Eds.), The Exchange University. Vancouver: University British Columbia Press. 

Wagner, A., Acker, S., & Mayuzumi, K. (Eds.). (2008). Whose University Is It, Anyway?  Power and Privilege on Gendered Terrain.  Toronto: Sumach Press.

Acker, S. & Armenti, C. (2004).  Sleepless in academia  Gender and Education, 16(1), 3-24.

Wyn, J., Acker, S., and Richards, E. (2000).  Making a difference: women in management in Australian and Canadian faculties of education. Gender and Education 12 (4): 435-447.

Acker, S. (1999). The Realities of Teachers' Work: Never a Dull Moment.  London and New York: Cassell/Continuum Press.

Acker, S. & Feuerverger, G. (1996).  Doing good and feeling bad: the work of women university teachers. Cambridge Journal of Education, 26(3), 401-422.

Acker, S. (1994). Gendered Education: Sociological Reflections on Women, Teaching and Feminism. Buckingham: Open University Press and Toronto: OISE Press.

Research Grants and Contracts

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).

various internal grants

Honours and Awards

2012 Invited Keynote Speaker, Academic Identities Conference, Auckland, New Zealand.

2005 Two co-authored articles previously published in Gender and Education chosen for edited volume of key contributions to the journal: C. Skelton & B. Francis (eds.), A Feminist Critique of Education: 15 years of Gender and Education. London: Routledge.

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, and others. Reviewer for publishers, including UBC Press and Palgrave-Macmillan. Many conferences attended, including Gender and Education, AERA, International Sociology of Education, Conference on Research on Work, Gender Work and Organization.