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Social Science Feminism & Feminist Theory

Higher Expectations

How to Survive Academia, Make it Better for Others, and Transform the University

by (author) Roberta Hawkins & Leslie Kern

Between the Lines
Initial publish date
May 2024
Feminism & Feminist Theory, Women's Studies, Philosophy & Social Aspects, Labor & Industrial Relations
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2024
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2024
    List Price

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Where to buy it


Higher Expectations is a practical guide to navigating academia for people who want to improve their own day-to-day work lives and create better conditions for everyone. Universities are broken: they’re built on systems that are discriminatory, hierarchical, and individualistic. This hurts the people that work and learn in them and limits the potential for universities to contribute to a better world. But we can raise our expectations. Hawkins and Kern envision a university transformed by collaboration, care, equity, justice, and multiple knowledges. Drawing on real-world, international examples where people and institutions are already doing things in new ways, Higher Expectations offers concrete advice on how to make these transformations real. It covers many areas of academic life including course design, conferencing, administration, research teams, managing workloads and more. Designed for faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and other scholars, Higher Expectations delivers hope and practical actions you can take to start making change now. It is a must-have for everyone working in academia today.

About the authors

Roberta Hawkins is an associate professor of Geography at the University of Guelph and the director of the Social Practice and Transformational Change PhD program. In these roles, Roberta teaches courses on human-environment relations, research methods, and feminist theories. Her research expertise includes ethical consumption, digital media, and environmental politics. She explores how everyday practices can lead to wider societal and environmental change. Roberta’s research is published in academic journals including Gender, Place and Culture and Geoforum. Roberta loves swimming, reading novels, and good coffee. She lives in Guelph, Ontario with her partner and two children.

Roberta Hawkins' profile page

Leslie Kern is the author of three books about cities, including Gentrification Is Inevitable and Other Lies and Feminist City: Claiming Space in a Man-Made World. She is an associate professor of geography and environment and women’s and gender studies at Mount Allison University. Leslie’s research has earned a Fulbright Visiting Scholar Award, a National Housing Studies Achievement Award, and several national multi-year grants. She is also an award-winning teacher. Leslie’s writing has appeared in The Guardian, Vox, Bloomberg CityLab, and Refinery29. Leslie is also an academic career coach, helping academics find meaning and joy in their work. She lives in Sackville, New Brunswick with her partner and two cats.

Leslie Kern's profile page