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Higher Education

, Volume 76, Issue 1, pp 115–127 | Cite as

Academic artisans in the research university

  • Angela Brew
  • David Boud
  • Lisa Lucas
  • Karin Crawford
Article

Abstract

In the changing context of universities, organisational structures for teaching and research problematise academic roles. This paper draws on a critical realist analysis of surveys and interviews with academics from universities in England and Australia. It identifies important academic work, not captured simply in descriptions of teaching or research. It shows that many academics, who are not research high flyers nor award-winning teachers, carry out this essential work which contributes to the effective functioning of their universities. That work is referred to as academic artisanal work and the people who do it as academic artisans. Characteristics and examples of academic artisans are presented, and the nature of artisanal work is explored. Implications for higher education management and for future studies are discussed. The paper points to an urgent need to better understand the complex nature of academic work.

Keywords

Academic work Academic career Teaching-only contracts Academic performance 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angela Brew
    • 1
  • David Boud
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Lisa Lucas
    • 5
  • Karin Crawford
    • 6
  1. 1.Office of Dean, Higher Degree ResearchMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital LearningDeakin UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.University of Technology Sydney UltimoAustralia
  4. 4.Institute for Work-Based LearningMiddlesex UniversityLondonUK
  5. 5.School of EducationUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  6. 6.Lincoln Higher Education Research InstituteUniversity of LincolnLincolnUK

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