From academic profession to higher education workforce academic careers in the uk
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From academic profession to higher education workforce: academic careers in the UK. Based on a forthcoming article by John Brennan, Monica Franco and Rajani Naidoo. CAP project. Changing nature of the Academic Profession

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From academic profession to higher education workforce academic careers in the uk

From academic profession to higher education workforce: academic careers in the UK

Based on a forthcoming article by John Brennan, Monica Franco and RajaniNaidoo


Cap project

CAP project

  • Changing nature of the Academic Profession

  • Initiated early 2000 as a follow up to the 1992 Carnegie Study on the Academic Profession

  • Totally bottom up driven project, no central funding, academic collaboration

  • One common questionnaire, limited national variations

  • Initially 18 countries, subsequently evolved to 25+ countries

  • On-line survey launched in participating countries 2007-08

  • Respondents for practical reasons limited to ‘regular’ university academic staff; casual/sessional staff excluded

  • Reasonable response rates that allow for generalisations

  • Book series “The Changing Academy” with Springer Publishers


Some distinctive uk features

Some distinctive UK features

  • Traditional autonomy and authority at institutional levels

  • State and professorial levels of authority weaker than in many places

  • A high degree of ‘vertical’ institutional differentiation

  • No binary distinctions

  • Traditions of academic freedom


Changing contexts

Changing contexts

  • Erosion of institutional autonomy

  • Mixture of market and state regulatory mechanisms

  • ‘Competitive state’ replacing ‘welfare state’

  • ‘Elite’ within ‘mass’ supported by rankings

  • Key roles and powers for administrators

  • ‘Trust’ and ‘responsibility’ replaced by evaluation and accountability

  • Students as ‘consumers’ (not ‘junior members’)

  • Competition replacing collaboration

  • University as ‘business’ replacing university as ‘university’


Academic loyalties of uk academics

Academic loyalties of UK academics

% indicating that the following are ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to them

  • Academic discipline/field - 81.5%

  • Department/school - 55.6%

  • Institution - 38.4%


Academic boundary crossing

Academic ‘boundary crossing’

% who would emphasise the following as characteristics (“much” or “very much”)of their current research:

Basic/theoretical - 56.2

Applied/practical - 65.9

Single disciplinary - 40

Multidisciplinary - 63.4


Changing work conditions

Changing work conditions

  • % experiencing improvement - 20.1

  • % experiencing deterioration - 67.6

  • % job as source of considerable

    personal strain - 58.4

  • % high or very high job satisfaction - 47.5


Uk academics considering changing their jobs

UK academics considering changing their jobs

% considering % taking action

Management job in

present institution 25.5 12

Academic job elsewhere

in UK 53 27.9

Academic job abroad 34.8 11.4

Work outside HE 40.2 7.2

No changes considered 23.5


Uk academics views on their institutions

UK academics’ views on their institutions

% agreeing or strongly agreeing that……

  • Strong emphasis on ‘mission’ - 61.9

  • Good communications between

    management and academics - 22.9

  • Top-down management - 71.7

  • Collegial decision-making - 20.6

  • Strong performance emphasis - 68.1

  • Cumbersome administration - 76.7


Uk academics views on their profession

UK academics’ views on their profession

% agreeing or strongly agreeing that…..

  • Poor time to begin an academic career 50.7

  • Would not now become an academic 22.5

  • Job is considerable source of strain 58.4


Some comparative perspectives based on cap project data

Some comparative perspectives(based on CAP project data)

‘Unusual’ features of UK being……

  • High sense of deteriorating working conditions, especially among older, established academics

  • Substantial differences in ‘satisfaction’ levels between older and younger academics with latter more satisfied

  • The relatively high number of teaching hours


Some more comparative perspectives based on cap project data

Some more comparative perspectives(based on CAP project data)

  • UK academics ‘most likely’ to have considered changing jobs

  • Overall job satisfaction lowest in UK

  • Greatest perceived decline in working conditions

  • Most ‘top down’ style of management

  • Worst communication between academics and management

  • Lowest perceived competence of top level administrators and least informed about institutional developments

  • Highest proportion saying ‘wouldn’t choose to be an academic again’

  • UK academics ‘lowest’ in loyalty to institution


Some questions

Some questions……

  • Defining an ‘academic’

  • Defining ‘profession’

  • Institutional, subject and generational differences

  • Collaborative v competitive relationships

  • Changing career routes

  • Changing boundaries and ‘new professions’


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