Love acts and revolutionary praxis: Challenging the neoliberal university through a teaching scholars development program

Reem Al-Mahmood, Gerardo Papalia, Sinead Barry, Nguyet Nguyen Minh, Juliane Roemhild, Terri Meehan-Andrews, Brianna Julien, Colleen Holt, Lucas Bester, Chris Bruce, Rebecca Miles, Cheryl Neilson, Judy Louie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


There has been significant interest in developing academics through Teaching Scholar Development Programs across the USA, Canada, the UK, and more recently in Australia. At their core, such programs develop academics across teaching scholarship, leadership, promotion, and award opportunities, where universities reap the benefits of developing such a cadre of leaders. This paper pays witness to one such a program in an Australian university to highlight enactments of caring passionately. We use qualitative survey evaluation data, metaphor analysis and reflective practice to nuance the pleasures, passions and challenges of the lived experiences using phenomenological and metaphor lenses to describe our experiences. Metaphors provide powerful insights into the dimensions of experience as they open up how programs are perceived and experienced. Our paper disrupts traditional linear writing through rhizomatic, multivocal and multitextual encounters to challenge dominant authorial voicing. The academic identity work and emotional work required in the program is unfolded through evolving, experiencing and reflecting on the program to inform design and highlight what we have come to (re)value in our academic work when we come together to learn, share, and lead. We forge ways to be and become with and against neoliberal agendas that have choked the soul of ‘the university’ to evolve rich spaces and practices of/for reciprocity and kindness where not only learning can thrive, but where love acts–a much needed revolutionary praxis for our time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-98
Number of pages18
JournalHigher Education Research & Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Academic identities
  • leadership
  • teaching scholar programs

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