Journal of Philosophy of Education 52 (3):548-574 (2018)

Joshua Forstenzer
University of Sheffield
This article argues that the Teaching Excellence Framework manifests the vice of epistemic insensibility. To this end, it explains that the TEF is a metrics‐driven evaluation mechanism which permits English higher education institutions to charge higher fees if the ‘quality’ of their teaching is deemed ‘excellent’. Through the TEF, the Government aims to improve the quality of teaching by using core metrics that reflect student satisfaction, retention and short‐term graduate employment. In response, some have criticised the TEF for failing to meaningfully evaluate the quality of teaching. This article seeks to explain and justify this criticism. It thus presents Heather Battaly's account of the vice of epistemic insensibility and argues that the TEF manifests two key features of an epistemically insensible policy, namely: it promotes a failure to desire, consume and enjoy epistemic goods that it is appropriate to desire, consume and enjoy; and it does so because it is committed to a false conception of the epistemic good. Crucially, it argues that the TEF falsely assumes that epistemic goods that serve to bolster its core metrics are more valuable than epistemic goods that do not. The article thus shows how this relies on an erroneous conception of the purpose of education and thus a false conception of the epistemic good. Finally, the article considers two brief objections and concludes that the TEF advances a conception of the student‐as‐customer which detracts from desiring, consuming and enjoying epistemic goods related to edification, civic participation and the student‐teacher relationship.
Keywords Teaching Excellence  Higher Education  Aristotle  Heather Battaly  Epistemic Vice
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DOI 10.1111/1467-9752.12319
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References found in this work BETA

Vice Epistemology.Quassim Cassam - 2016 - The Monist 99 (2):159-180.
Epistemic Corruption and Education.Ian James Kidd - 2019 - Episteme 16 (2):220-235.
Can There Be Institutional Virtues.Miranda Fricker - 2010 - Oxford Studies in Epistemology 3.

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Empowerment for Teaching Excellence Through Virtuous Agency.Hennie Lötter - 2021 - Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature Switzerland AG.

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