MURAL - Maynooth University Research Archive Library

    Care Matters in Higher Education: A Narrative Inquiry with a Community of Educators in a Technological University

    O'Connell, Catherine-Ann (2023) Care Matters in Higher Education: A Narrative Inquiry with a Community of Educators in a Technological University. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

    Download (1MB) | Preview

    Share your research

    Twitter Facebook LinkedIn GooglePlus Email more...

    Add this article to your Mendeley library


    This is a story about care in higher education, documenting a group of colleagues in a Technological University, as we engaged in a narrative inquiry. It explores how we might sustain educators who care and our care-based pedagogies: asking, how can we keep care at the centre of what we do and who we are? Care is embedded in relationships, and it is in relation that we see care in the storied accounts in this thesis. Our collegial approach and our ‘climate of care’ encourages us to teach in a care-centred way. Our supportive professional relationships provide an essential space for each other and for care. It is these ‘pockets of care’ within our institutions, that enable us to sustain care. As this inquiry attests, we are increasingly negatively affected by neoliberalism in our institutions. The troubling dismantling of our climate of care is revealed as our inquiry unfolds. This research makes care work in the academy more visible and offers the possibility that it may therefore become more valued by our institutions (and less easy to dismiss). Our stories suggest that re-centralising care into our concept of higher education can potentially be a powerful corrective to neoliberalism. Our pedagogies and our way of working together can be viewed as a form of resistance or refusal. This focusses on the agency we have as educators and is a means of giving us hope to keep caring. In this inquiry, care is demonstrated as an ontological commitment to our students and our colleagues. Care is not an individual pursuit, it is an understanding of the interconnectedness of self and others, and personal and social concerns. We care together, and the stories contained here, speak of care as a collective process. Drawing on the resonances across my participants accounts, I conceptualise presence as the cornerstone of a care-centred pedagogy. With mutual respect at its core, we are present to our students, both emotionally and cognitively, responding competently to their learning needs. This inquiry offers a cautionary tale to institutions; that care is fragile and can be easily lost, if not valued and recognised as an essential element of third-level education. Care matters.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Care Matters; Higher Education; Narrative Inquiry; Community of Educators; Technological University;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Adult and Community Education
    Item ID: 17995
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2024 12:01
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

      Repository Staff Only(login required)

      View Item Item control page


      Downloads per month over past year

      Origin of downloads