What is required to develop career pathways for teaching academics?
- 835 Downloads
Despite the rise of teaching academic (teaching only) roles in Australia, the UK, the USA, and Canada, the experiences of teaching academics are not well documented in the literature. This article reports from a university-wide study that responded to the introduction of teaching academic roles during a major restructure of academic staff. Thirteen focus groups involving 115 academic staff employed in a range of roles were held approximately 12 months after teaching academic roles were introduced. In conveying the results, we first report on the teaching academic experience, highlighting the perceived low value of the teaching academic (TA) role and confusion about what the role entails. We then focus on teaching academic career pathways. The findings highlight the uncertainty surrounding career paths for teaching academics, who noted the absence of career or promotion scripts. Respondents noted also an absence of role models within the professoriate. They expressed widespread concerns about developing the traditional academic skill set required to transition between roles and institutions, with many TAs finding themselves in boundaried careers with an uncertain future. The construct of career or promotion scripts is used to examine multiple perceptions of career pathways for teaching academics. The findings highlight the importance of systematic change management processes when new academic roles are introduced within the context of university-wide academic restructure, and the critical role of human resources in designing and implementing the same.
KeywordsAcademic workforce Higher education Precarious work Career transition Career scripts Boundaried careers
- Ashforth, B. E. (2001). Role transitions in organizational life: an identity-based perspective. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.Google Scholar
- Bexley, E., James, R., & Arkoudis, S. (2011). The Australian academic profession in transition. Melbourne: Centre for the Study of Higher Education. http://melbourne-cshe.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0 010/1490923/The_Academic_Profession_in_Transition_Sept2011.pdf. Accessed 19 August 2015.
- Clarke, M., Drennan, J., Hyde, A., & Politis, Y. (2015). Academics’ perceptions of their professional contexts. In T. Fumasoli, G. Goastellec, & B. M. Kehm (Eds.), Academic work and careers in Europe: Trends, challenges, perspectives (pp. 117–131). Basel: Springer International Publishing.Google Scholar
- Copeland, R. (2014). Beyond the consumerist agenda. London: University and College Union.Google Scholar
- Department of Education and Training. (2015). Selected higher education statistics—2014 staff data. https://education.gov.au/selected-higher-education-statistics-2014-staff-data. Accessed 6 April 2016.
- Department of Education and Training. (2016a). Selected higher education statistics—2015 staff data. https://education.gov.au/selected-higher-education-statistics-2015-staff-data. Accessed 6 April 2016.
- Department of Education and Training. (2016b). Selected higher education statistics—2016 staff data. https://docs.education.gov.au/node/42371. Accessed 17 January 2017.
- Fitz-enz, J., & Davison, B. (2002). How to measure human resources management. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
- Higher Education Statistics Agency. (2013). Statistical first release 209—staff at HE providers in the UK. https://www.hesa.ac.uk/sfr209. Accessed 15 September 2015.
- Kvale, S. (1996). Interviews: an introduction to qualitative research interviewing. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Locke, W. (2014). Shifting academic careers: implications for enhancing professionalism in teaching and supporting learning. York: The Higher Education Academy https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/system/file/res ources/shifting_academic_careers_final.pdf. Accessed 25 August 2015.Google Scholar
- Loussikian, K. (2016). Research’s gain, teaching’s loss as casuals rule at universities. The Australian. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/researchs-gain-teachings-loss-as-casuals-rule-at-universities/news-story/ee2936e385a9fb36e8c87fe171b3b6e5. Accessed 6 April 2016.
- Marchant, T., & Wallace, M. (2013). Sixteen years of change for Australian female academics: progress or segmentation? Australian Universities Review, 55(2), 60–71.Google Scholar
- Musselin, C. (2009). The market for academics. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Norton, A., & Cakitaki, B. (2016). Mapping Australian higher education 2016. Grattan Institute. https://grattan.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/875-Mapping-Australian-Higher-Education-2016.pdf Accessed 14 January 2017.
- Nyamapfene, A. (2014). The teaching-only academic role in research intensitve universities: a case of spoiled identity. York: The Higher Education Academy https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/system/files/gen-255-p.pdf. Accessed 12 October 2016.Google Scholar
- Pricewaterhouse Coopers. (2016). Australian higher education workforce of the future. Sydney: Pricewaterhouse Coopers https://www.aheia.edu.au/cms_uploads/docs/aheia-higher-education-workforce-of-the-future-report.pdf. Accessed 14 January 2017.Google Scholar
- Probert, B. (2013). Teaching-focused academic appointments in Australian universities: recognition, specialisation, or stratification? Australian Government: Office for Learning and Teaching. http://www.olt.gov.au/resource-teaching-focused-academic-appointments. Accessed 11 September 2015.
- Probert, B. (2015). The quality of Australia’s higher education system: how it might be defined, improved and assured. Australian Government: Office for Learning and Teaching. http://www.olt.gov.au/resource-quality-australias-higher-education-system. Accessed 17 October 2015.
- Rhoades, G. (2008). The study of the academic profession. In P. Gumport (Ed.), Sociology of higher education: Contributions and their contexts (pp. 113–146). Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
- Sabelis, I. (2010). Career cultures: rhythms of work from a gender perspective. In W. Ernst (Ed.), Geschlecht und innovation. Gender-mainstreaming im techno-wissenschaftsbetrieb (pp. 201–218). Munster: LIT.Google Scholar
- Sanders, L. (2011). Teaching-stream positions: some implications. Toronto: Council of Ontario Universities http://cou.on.ca/reports/teaching-stream-positions/. Accessed 25 January 2017.Google Scholar
- Ulrich, D. (1997). Human resources champions. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
- Ulrich, D., & Brockbank, W. (2005). The HR value proposition. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
- Vajoczki, S., Fenton, N., Menard, K., & Pollon, D. (2011). Teaching-stream faculty in Ontario universities. Toronto: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario http://www.heqco.ca/SiteCollectionDocuments/T eaching-stream%20Faculty%20in%20Ontario%20Universities.pdf . Accessed 31 July 2015.
- Wilkinson, D. (2014). Teaching stream appointments at McMaster. Hamilton: McMaster University http://www.mcmaster.ca/vpacademic/documents/Teaching%20Stream%20Appointments%20at%20McMaster.pdf. Accessed 24 August 2015.Google Scholar