[We’re pleased to welcome author Thomas F. Hawk of Frostburg State University. Hawk recently published an article in the Journal of Management Education entitled, “Getting to Know Your Students and an Educational Ethic of Care,” that is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Hawk shares background and motivation for pursuing this research:]
A sabbatical in 1996 that focused on critical thinking led me to discover the Philosophy of Education Society and the idea of an ethic of care. The more I explored the ethic of care literature, the more it resonated with me and gave me a vocabulary and a philosophical frame for describing and discussing my fundamental processes of facilitating the deep learning of my students. That journey of exploration continues to the present even though I retired from the university in 2009.
In 2003, a student who appeared to be struggling in my MBA capstone strategy course sent me an email asking me not to “give up on her” as she had some learning challenges that held her back from actively contributing to the case discussions. But she also complimented me on the caring and skillful ways in which I focused on my students’ learning development, provided extensive developmental feedback, and continually tried to get my students involved in the discussions. That email triggered a set of questions in my mind that led to the 2008 JME article, “Please Don’t Give Up on Me: When Faculty Fail to Care.” As I understand it, that was the first full length article in JME to address an ethic of care.
As my journey into an ethic of care continued, I did research on the extent to which business ethics textbooks and journals addressed the issue of an ethic of care as an alternative ethical framework to the traditional ethical frameworks of virtue, deontological, utilitarian, and justice ethics. That research revealed an almost total absence of a consideration of an ethic care in business ethics textbooks and only a few articles on an ethic of care in the primary business ethics journals. I also became aware of the significant differences in the ontological/metaphysical assumptions made by the rationalistic and abstract universalistic individualism of traditional ethical frameworks and the relational, concrete, uniqueness of each situation that characterizes an ethic of care and its central focus on the well-being of the parties to the relationship and the relationship itself.
Chory & Offstein’s 2017 JME article (41-1), “Your Professor Will Know You as a Person: Evaluating and Rethinking the Relational Boundaries between Faculty and Students,” prompted me to write, “Getting to Know Your Students and an Educational Ethic of Care.” That article reflects my current exploration of the congruence among an ethic of care, Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy and process ethics, and a process perspective on teaching and learning (see Whitehead, 1929, and Oliver & Gersham, 1989, cited in the article). I now see an ethic of care as a way of being in the world, not just as an alternative ethical framework. But in the educational domain, the most important scholarly work I have read over the last year is: Alhadeff-Jones, M. (2017). Time and the Rhythms of Emancipatory Education: Rethinking the Temporal Complexity of Self and Society. New York: Routledge.
Enjoy the reading.
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