Diversity Deficits: Resisting the TEF

Research output: Contributions to collected editions/worksChapterpeer-review


This chapter draws on Michel de Certeau’s work on strategies and tactics to critique the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and, importantly, suggests a form of creative resistance to it. The TEF operates as a strategy of English higher education to reduce teaching and learning to quantifiable proxy measures which are then used to hold academics’ performance to account. The selection and use of these proxy measures introduces a specific relationship between academics and students rooted in the underlying neoliberal principles of exchange and private gain, reducing HE teaching and learning to a provider-consumer relationship. In defiance of this academics need to utilise increasingly creative tactics to enable them to conform to the requirements of the TEF while simultaneously resisting and subverting this provider-consumer relationship. De Certeau’s work on la perruque, or wiggery, as alternative tactics disguised as work for an employer offers us a way to counter the pervasive presence of TEF. La perruque encourages us to make use of the structures and places provided to us by higher education institutions to make something alien to them, for example, reorganising classroom spaces in such a way that does not prioritise the presence of the lecturer or designing sessions and modules starting from existing student knowledge rather than assuming a deficit to be addressed. Each of these tactics of resistance is fleeting and temporary, but each provides academics with a creative possibility to navigate the tensions of neoliberal provider-consumer relationships on the one hand and collaborative knowledge production on the other.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChallenging the Teaching Excellence Framework : Diversity deficits in higher education evaluations
EditorsAmanda French, Kate Carruthers Thomas
Number of pages26
Place of PublicationBingley
PublisherEmerald Publishing Limited
Publication date06.08.2020
ISBN (Print)|978-1-78769-536-8, 978-1-78769-534-4
ISBN (Electronic) 978-1-78769-533-7, 978-1-78769-535-1
Publication statusPublished - 06.08.2020

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