Koivisto Juha

Professorit järjestykseen. Kasvatustieteen virantäytöt 1970- luvulta 1990-luvulle

Professors in Order. The appointments of professors in educational science from the 1970s to the 1990s

English summary

This study simultaneously concerns the procedure for the appointment of professors in Finland and the networks of Finnish educational science. The expert statements concerning applicants for professorships in Finnish educational science in 1973-1994 are from the period of expansion of the discipline. The faculties of education and the separate departments of teacher education were established at the beginning of the 1970s, primary school teacher training was moved from teachers' colleges and teacher preparation seminaries to brand-new faculties and the number of professorships in the discipline is being increased at an incredible rate. This study presents especially how educational science is defined in the expert statements in which scientific competence of the applicants is evaluated. Evaluation of scientific competence is outlined from the viewpoint of actor-network theory.

An actor-network analysis is research above all on the tactics of translation. They are the processes in which putative agents attempt to characterize and pattern the networks of the social; the processes in which they attempt to constitute themselves as agents. From this viewpoint, the social is seen as materially heterogeneous; talk, bodies, texts, interests, machines, architecture, all these, among other things, are implicated in and perform the 'social'. A network of a social is a precarious and temporary effect of more or less successful translation struggles. In the tactics of translation, an actor attempts to define and enroll the other actors and defines him/herself as an actor. An actor attempts to convince the other actors of what they want, what their goals and interests are, etc. An actor attempts to promote his own contribution and turn it into a black-box, that is, into a thing which is accepted and used on a regular basis as a matter of fact. The contribution can be materially whatever; machines, instruments, methods, principles, values etc. The one who succeeds in convincing and enrolling others so that they act according to his/her word "wins". So, from this viewpoint, power or size are seen as effects, too.

In the Finnish procedure for the appointment of professors, the faculty council selects 2-4 experts for evaluating the scientific competence of the applicants. The experts are usually professors of the discipline in question. An expert evaluates the applicants' scientific competence (competent or incompetent) and ranks them on the basis of their scientific production. The faculty council's task is, on the basis of the expert statements, to nominate a candidate for a professorship. The idea is that from the statements and rankings in them made by the impartial experts it can be concluded who is the most competent applicant. However, the faculty council does not make its own ranking dependent on the expert statements. Finally, the university chancellor appoints the professor.

In this study about 180 expert statements concerning applicants for professorships in educational science in Finland between 1973-1994 were analyzed from the viewpoint of actor-network theory. The statements given in the appointments of associate professorships were not analyzed. From the viewpoint the expert statements are read as attempts to characterize and pattern the networks of social and as attempts of the ones who give the statements to define themselves as experts. Then scientific competence is seen as temporary relations between materially heterogeneous actors; researchers, values, interests, goals, experts, theories, departments, disciplines, etc.

There are eight faculties of education altogether in Finland, most of which were established at the beginning of the 1970s. At the same time the separate departments of teacher education of the faculties were established. In the early 1970s there were only 7 full professors in educational sciences in Finland, but by the beginning of the 1980s there were already more than 30 full professors. In 1995 there were 50 full professors and 83 associate professors of education.

The statements analyzed were given in the appointments of seventeen different professorships. Most of the chairs were filled several times in the time period. A majority of the statements were given when general professorships of educational science were filled. A remarkable number of statements concerning applicants for professorships of teacher training were also given. On the other hand, only some statements concerning the competence to the professorship of didactics were given, for example. The chairs of didactics are primarily associate professorships which were not included in the analysis. Most of the associate professorships are different chairs of didactics. Generally, the chairs of didactics and teacher training are placed in the departments of teacher education and the general chairs in the departments of education. In 1995 two out of three professors and associate professors worked in the departments of teacher education.

The statements were classified based on their "similarity". The study produced eleven different groups of statements as an effect. That means in some statements it was demanded that research has to be definitively done in some specific area of educational science, for example in the research area of teaching and learning, in others the demand was that the research furthers the practical aims of teacher education, etc. The success of the tactics of translation was not studied.

Which educational science?

The majority of the statements given in the appointments of the general chairs are similar in the sense that the requirements of scientific competence concern especially the subdisciplines of educational science. That is, the problem of competence is translated above all to a factor concerning the mastery of the subdisciplines. In the central subdisciplines of educational science at least didactics, the history of education, the philosophy of education and the psychology and sociology of education are repeatedly and explicitly included in the statements. Comparative education and special pedagogy are occasionally included with them. When the general chairs have been filled, it has been convinced that the interest of a faculty council is to prefer applicants who are able to master at least two subdisciplines. From the early 1960s the requirement was that at least one subdiscipline was either didactics or the psychology/sociology of education. By 1973-1994 the requirement was abandoned.

Didactics as research on teaching process is typically defined in the statements given in the appointments of the general chairs as a kind of core of educational science. Didactics is defined above all as a psychology-based science of teaching process whose task is to develop teaching methods. The contents of teaching are rather taken for granted. Research on curriculum is not overly discussed. The goal of didactics is typically defined to get the children to learn better. Since the beginning of the 1980s cognitive psychology of learning is defined as an obligatory passage point when the development of new and better teaching methods is attempted. Teaching process is typically thought to be surrounded by or situated in a societal or social context, but a sociological analysis of the teaching process is defined as secondary to psychological analysis. The subject of sociology of education is instead defined as the analysis of the social conditions of education or the interaction of education and society. According to the statements, a remarkable number of applicants have studied didactics, but they have not been favored when the general chairs have been filled. For didactic research, in addition to one full professorship, numerous associate professorships have been founded. Sociology of education has only one full professorship, and only a few associate professorships have been directed to social or societal studies of education in the time period analyzed.

When the publications have been classified to educational psychology, the bounds on the one hand between educational psychology and didactics and on the other hand between educational psychology and psychology are especially defined. When the subject of didactics is defined as the teaching process, the subject of educational psychology is defined as psychological conditions of teaching and learning. Educational psychology is defined as something more than the application of psychology to the school or education. Considerably fewer applicants' research areas are defined as educational psychology than didactics. In addition, there is only one full professorship of educational psychology in Finland and a few associate professorships.

Only some applicants' research area is defined as history of education, philosophy of education or comparative education. And in that sense these subdisciplines remain more as curiosities than central subdisciplines of educational science. Neither of these subdisciplines have full professorships in Finland. Only history of education has one associate professorship. Special pedagogy is defined as a research area of only one applicant. But there are some full professorships and associate professorships of special pedagogy in Finland and the researchers of the discipline have apparently concentrated on applying them.

In all, the subdisciplines of educational science are, especially since the 1980s, being defined more multifariously. New research areas are included in the central subdisciplines. Teacher training, adult education, vocational education, educational policy, research on the educational system, religious education, pedagogics of higher education, societal connections of education, educational planning etc. are also defined as subdisciplines or research areas. Some of these less traditional research areas are sometimes attempted to reduce to the more traditional subdisciplines. The requirement of expertise in at least two central subdisciplines started to break down in the 1980s when new subdisciplines were defined and when the classification of subdisciplines became more diffused in general.

Research on teaching and learning - "so that the knowledge is better retained"

Three of the professorships filled between 1973-1994 are directed primarily to research on teaching and/or learning. Therefore, numerically there are not many (full) professorships directed to the research area, but - as was noted earlier - most of the numerous associate professorships are directed towards this area. The specialties of the three chairs are didactics, research into teaching and learning, and teaching by computer and research on the theory of learning. The statements given in the appointment processes of these chairs and a number of statements from the appointments of other chairs constitute a unified group on the grounds that research on teaching and/or learning above all is defined as a relevant research area. Psychology is again typically defined as a correct scientific base for research. The goals of the research in question are defined as practical rather than theoretical. That is, to develop improved teaching methods, organizations, systems, etc. In four statements given in the appointment processes of the chair of didactics the discipline is not defined very explicitly. It is expected that the research concerns teaching especially, but when learning and the base for research is discussed, cognitive psychology of learning is defined as the primary scientific base for didactics.

In a number of statements it is required that an applicant has researched both teaching and learning. When the chair of research into teaching and learning is filled, the applicants who have researched either only the conditions of teaching, the teaching process or the results of teaching are not defined as competent. On the other hand, when the chair of teaching by computer and research on the theory of learning is filled, an applicant who masters - according to the statements - mainly research on learning is defined as competent. In one statement which has been given when the chair of handicrafts education was appointed, it is required that research especially into teaching and learning of handicrafts has been carried out. A researcher who has researched cognitive processes, especially thinking and memory functions is invited to fill the chair of school-pedagogics. School-pedagogy is not defined as the research area of the researcher, but he is however defined as competent for the chair. Also special pedagogy is defined, in the statements given when filling its chairs, as above all pscyhology-base science of teaching and learning of "deviant" individuals or groups. "Deviation" is chiefly taken for granted, that is, as a naturally existing thing.

In all, in the statements concerned the goal is almost without exception defined to get the children to learn better. How to organize teaching so that its goals will be best attained? Then the interest is, defined and convinced by the statements, to analyze teaching and learning primarily as psychological phenomena and problems, not for example as social and sociological phenomena. Also the value of the so- called basic research is measured on the grounds of its practical relevance for the goals of teaching.

Teacher training, didactics and a better teacher

Teacher education has been moulded into a central position in Finnish educational science. When it is thought the departments of teacher education and the numerous professorships as well as associate professorships founded in them for serving teacher education, it can almost be said that Finnish educational science is for teacher education. The (full) professorships included in the departments of teacher education are mainly chairs of teacher training, some chairs are general chairs.

A group of its own is constituted by the statements in which the educational scientific research and the practical goals of teacher training are in one way or another connected. In some statements teacher training is defined as a kind of context in respect to which the publications of the applicants are evaluated. Research is not required in some specific subdisciplines or research areas, but it is expected that the research has some relevance to the practice of teacher training. Three of the statements were given when the general chairs of educational science which are placed in the institutions of teacher training were filled; three when the chairs of teacher training were filled.

The major subgroup of the statements in question consists of the statements in which research into teacher training or the teacher training process is defined as relevant research to the chair. From the research practical relevance to teacher training is expected above all. Every statement of the subgroup has been given when the chairs of teacher training have been filled. Relevant topics of research on teacher education are defined as how the entrance exam of teacher training functions, the motives of the candidates towards teacher training, the student evaluation of teacher training, the structure and content of the goals of teacher training and the adaptation to the fieldwork of teacher, for example. It is not thought that the task of the professors of teacher education is to transmit the results of these studies to the students, but the results of didactic research they should, according to the statements. Didactics is defined in the statements as a secondary research area after research into teacher training. After didactics relevant research areas to teacher training are defined as psychology, sociology and philosophy of education.

Eight statements constitute a subgroup of its own on the basis that in the networks constructed within them especially and primarily didactics and the goals of teacher training are connected. That is, didactics is defined as an obligatory passage point when it is attempted to develop teacher training. Two of the statements have been given when a chair of didactics, which is placed in an institution of teacher training, has been filled. In these statements teacher training is defined as a kind of context which didactic research should somehow further. Research into teacher training is valued as an additional merit.

In the other groups of statements which the study produced it is defined the theoretical problems of educational science, the networks of special pedagogy, the networks of educational psychology, the relations between education and society, the planning and administration of education, the networks of adult education and the networks of vocational education. In addition, a group of its own is constituted by the statements in which the problems of educational scientific research are not actually defined as belonging to the research areas of the professorships in question.

The networks of educational science

Overall, the statements studied are above all from the period of expansion, but also from the period of differentiation of Finnish educational science. For the new faculties and especially the departments of teacher education numerous professorships and associate professorships are being founded. Before the establishment of the faculties the chairs were mainly general professorships, without specialty; the new chairs are defined in a narrower way. Some chairs have succeeded in being defined in such a peculiar way that there have been many difficulties in defining competent ones. For example, the research area of the professorship of textile pedagogy has been defined as the designing and manufacturing processes of hand-made textile products and there have been evident difficulties in the appointment of the chair.

Certain senior researchers of educational science are chosen to give a statement; some more often than others. Foreign experts may not be used, because Finnish educational science has been written mainly in Finnish. Erkki Lahdes, who was the professor of teacher education at the University of Turku from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, has given 20 statements about the statements studied. The other experts have given 1-9 statements, typically 1-4 statements. Lahdes has succeeded apparently well in convincing the faculty councils by his statements, because he has been chosen time after time to give a statement. So, the networks of educational science defined in the statements in the 1980s are especially networks defined by Lahdes.

The experts do not typically commit themselves explicitly to certain paradigms, theories or methods; in other words, things directly linked to the ways to do research. They may not be interested at all in the tools of research but instead in translating scientific competence to things concerning the number of publications, the internationalism of research etc. However, an expert often unnoticedly and implicitly commits him/herself for example to a certain theory. Psychology is anyway explicitly defined as the most central and important scientific base for educational science. From the early 1980s cognitive psychology has been defined as the right psychology. The translation is that above all by passing through the cognitive psychology the goals of education, teaching and learning can be furthered best. So, in constructing the networks an expert takes for granted at least some kinds of markings, classifications, suppositions etc. however objective, impartial or unstinting s/he thinks to be. The subject of a professorship is already defined when an expert starts evaluating, but s/he takes it only more or less for granted.

In the statements given in the 1970s the applicants were defined almost without exception as representatives of "the usual paradigm". By that it is meant research which tries to seek the natural scientific experimental setting and uses the mathematical-statistical methods. It is called positivistic, new-positivistic, empiristic-analytical or empiristic paradigm. From the applicants positivistic research is not demanded, but the experts examine largely how the applicants have used the quantitative methods chosen. Especially in the 1970s the positivistic paradigm was often quietly accepted as the right paradigm. Applicants are defined as representatives of the positivistic paradigm through the study material, but from the beginning of the 1980s some applicants are defined as representatives of the hermeneutic, the phenomenological or the hermeneutic-phenomenological paradigm.

Research into the process of teaching and learning is defined through the study material as a kind of core area of the networks of educational science. As a secondary research area it is defined mainly as research into the (psychological and sociological) conditions of education, teaching and learning. For example, the economic conditions of education are not discussed. The research is expected to analyze and solve the problems of education, teaching and learning which are taken for granted. Micro-sociological research into the teaching process is anyway seen as a different and interesting thing, but secondary to the psychological analysis. It is the same with philosophical research on teaching. Research into curriculum is not overly discussed.

The traditional classification of the central subdisciplines of educational science survives in some sense through study material, but the subdisciplines have been started, especially since the 1980s to see more multifariously. Didactic research is no longer demanded from the applicants of general chairs which is apparently due to the fact that so many associate professorships of didactics have been founded in the departments of teacher education. However, when the general chairs are filled, didactics is also defined typically as a core area of educational science.

When the chairs of special pedagogy are filled, it is not definitely demanded that the applicants have research on the didactics of "special groups", but research on teaching and learning is anyway defined and valued as extremely central. The research area of professorships of adult education is on the other hand defined so ambiguously that didactics does not rise over the other research areas. It is the same with the statements given when the chair of vocational education has been filled. In them the societally-oriented research is defined as extremely relevant research, which may be partly due to that from these subdisciplines practical relevance for the problems of educational policy of the areas is generally expected. In the statements given when the chair of planning and administration of education has been filled, didactics is almost totally excluded. In the statements given when the chairs of teacher training are filled, didactics is not defined as a primary research area of the professor, but as a secondary area, which fits well with the fact that there are numerous associate professorships of didactics in the departments of teacher training. The utility of didactic research for teacher training has anyway been a self-evident truth in the statements since the 1970s.

In some statements psychology-based and sociology-based research of education are opposed quite strongly to each other. Psychology is defined in the statements almost without exception as a primary scientific base for educational science, for the sociological or social scientific research, the less important research on the societal conditions of education is left. Particularly between didactics and sociology of education a clear juxtaposition is constructed. Even if the psychology-based research on teaching process is defined as a core area of educational science, the social scientifically oriented research on education gains a gradual foothold in the statements. This does not happen only in the sense that in the period studied a professorship of sociology of education and a professorship of educational policy is
founded, but rather especially at the turn of 1990s certain sociologically oriented researchers applied for different professorships and succeeded in convincing the experts about the need of more societal research on education with their applications.

In all, the networks of educational science have been defined and constructed in a more and more various and specialized manner, the nearer we come the middle of the 1990s. New research areas are defined and new ways to carry out research are accepted. However, the experts could have been chosen differently and educational science could have been defined and carried out in a different way.