Institute of Education
The nature of academic roles has changed significantly in the last decade, with an increasing disaggregation of teaching, research, and other types of activity. At the same time there is pressure on individuals to attract research income, generate publications, and teach an diversifying range of students. These pressures impact differently on academic, research and learning support staff, whose contracts of employment may not be uniform. The type of institution they work for may also be an important variable. These drivers are resulting in an increase in the number of UK academics on so-called ‘teaching-only’ contracts, and possibly an even greater number in teaching-focused roles regardless of their formal contractual status (Locke 2014). This is creating a need for more imaginative development for academic staff who may move between research, teaching and other career progression routes.
Aims and objectives
The aim of the project is to develop a broader understanding of the roles and careers of staff in UK higher education and their development needs in relation to promotion and transition across and between teaching, learning-support and research career routes. In pursuit of this aim, the study's objectives are to provide:
- An analysis of HESA and other data to obtain quantitative information about changing academic career paths and staff transitions, and variables affecting these such as institutional contexts, discipline influences and career routes for teaching-only, research and learning support pathways.
- Documentary evidence from eight case institutions with exemplars of good practice in relation to the development of a more diverse workforce.
- A qualitative study that:
- Constructs evidence of the ‘lived experience’ of academic, research and learning support staff, shifts in their careers and work, and ways in which they and their institutions might address these opportunities, for instance via reward and recognition mechanisms.
- Develops an understanding of the needs of staff with 'teaching only' contracts.
- Provides evidence of the kind of support offered to those new to higher education in research, teaching and teaching-related roles; and the extent to which this contributes to morale and motivation and supports career development.
- Establishes the extent to which type of institution might be a variable in the above.
The outcome of the study will be to support institutions, line managers and individual members of staff in developing career initiatives that recognise a diversifying workforce, offering exemplars of good practice in relation to, for instance, career pathways and reward and recognition mechanisms for teaching-only, research-only and learning support staff. These will be published on the project website. The results of the study will also provide a basis of evidence from which the HEA can draw to enhance the professionalism of academic staff and inform its review of the UK Professional Standards Framework.
Locke, W. (2014) Shifting academic careers: implications for enhancing professionalism in teaching and supporting learning. York: Higher Education Academy.
Start date: 2014-12-19 00:00:00
End date: 2015-07-31 00:00:00