The Hidden Elephant Is Oppression: Shaming, Mobbing, and Institutional Betrayals within the Academy—Finding Strength in Collaborative Self-Study
academic bullying, academic mobbing, collaborative self-study, non-hegemonic professors, shaming, student evaluations of teaching
Studying Teacher Education
In this collaborative self-study, we examined our experiences of oppression and exclusion as tenure-track assistant professors possessing intersecting outsider statuses. We found that oppression is the elephant in the academy. We used self-study methodology, along with narrative inquiry, and textual and discursive analysis, to analyze our respective formal and informal student course evaluations, personal narratives and poems, and ongoing collective conversations. We found and analyzed not only the impact of these experiences on our physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental health, but also how they have impacted our work. Through our support system triad, we became vulnerable, critically aware, and mutually empathic–all necessary components to building resilience to shame. We found some concerning commonalities problematizing the sanctity of the institution of the university: (a) students use course evaluations to punish professors because of unsafe content or critical pedagogical content and/or non-hegemonic identity markers; (b) similar mobbing tactics occur in private and public institutions in order to punish successful non-hegemonic/critical professors, although the behavior is more flagrant in private institutions, and (c) institutions provide lip service to diversity without creating internal mechanisms to sustain it. In essence, the institution carries on with status quo business as usual. We end with a discussion and conclusion about moving forward that allowed us to voice our discontents for a call to action against hegemony inside the academy and teacher education. We all have more work to do.
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Original Publication Date
DOI of published version
UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
Hernández-Saca, David I.; Martin, Jennifer; and Meacham, Sohyun, "The Hidden Elephant Is Oppression: Shaming, Mobbing, and Institutional Betrayals within the Academy—Finding Strength in Collaborative Self-Study" (2020). Faculty Publications. 359.