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Academic workload allocation: equity, accountability, transparency, futility?. Janice Malcolm Centre for the Study of Higher Education. 1960s academic work. Robbins survey (diary based) 1961: Average direct teaching 7.6 hours per week Average working week 40.5 hours, of which:.

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academic workload allocation equity accountability transparency futility

Academic workload allocation: equity, accountability, transparency, futility?

Janice Malcolm

Centre for the Study of Higher Education

1960s academic work
1960s academic work

Robbins survey (diary based) 1961:

Average direct teaching 7.6 hours per week

Average working week 40.5 hours, of which:

halsey et al 1964 5
Halsey et al 1964-5

‘Staff/student ratios in British universities are high and formal obligations light. There is freedom in the sense of personal autonomy of an order to be found rarely, if at all, in other occupational groups. These conditions permit the essential elements of what is considered a ‘gentlemanly’ way of life … Reputation largely, though not wholly, depends on professional standards.’

slide6
Teichler CAP survey 2007average % of work time spent on teaching and research(increases shown in black)
slide9

Changing staff-student ratios:

1957 1:7.2 (source: UGC)

1980 1:9.4 - Polytechnics 1:8.1

1995/6 1:16.5

2003/04 1:18.1

2008/09 1:16.3

Sources: UGC; Shattock; UCU

wam critiques
WAM critiques

academic work defined as a problem which needs managing to increase efficiency ; actors transformed into manageable entities that can be transported through space-time (Malcolm and Zukas 2009)

The paradox of ‘collegiality’: academic resistance to greater central regulation devolves power and discretion to senior individuals in departments, reinforcing unequal power relations (Hull, 2006)

‘With apparently unconscious irony, many academics reported that they particularly valued the flexibility of their working week, in terms of both time and space … in the same breath as reporting working weeks in the order of 60 hours’ (Anderson, 2006)

working time
Working time?

Kent: No hours of work; no holidays

(but 1650 hours for funding purposes)

Leeds: 1650 hours of work; 30 days holiday

Oxford: ‘to engage in advanced study or research; to give …not less than 16 lectures or classes a year; and to take part in university examining and graduate supervision as and when requested … it is expected that CUF lecturers will limit their total commitments, and colleges their demands on them, so that time will be available for advanced study or research.’

DIT: ‘Teaching up to 560 hours p.a. including supervision … a norm of 16 class contact hours per week’

slide12

‘The Work Allocation Model (WAM) allows staff to concentrate time on their areas of expertise’ (from REF documentation).

further issues
Further issues …

Dearth of research on what everyday academic work actually is (except in labs); labels cover a multitude of different practices and mutual incomprehension

Focus on individual as unit of analysis; though research on scientists and other professions points to distributed and collective nature of much knowledge-work

Reliance on ‘billable’ and easily-quantifiable ‘outputs’

Obscuring of ‘inputs’ and what falls outside institutional categories (so shift from disciplinary to institutional definitions of valuable work)

Failure to account for the transformed practices that comprise academic work

slide14

Equity

Accountability

Transparency

Futility

references
References

Anderson, G. (2006),’Carving out time and space in the managerial university", Journal of Organizational Change Management 19:5 578 – 592

Cummings, W. (2012) ‘The conditions of continuity and the drivers of change’, Paper presented at CAP Conference, Berlin

Houston, D. et al (2006) ‘Academic staff workloads and job satisfaction: expectations and values in academe’, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 28:1, 17-30

Hull, R. (2006) ‘Workload allocation models and “collegiality” in academic departments’, Journal of Organizational Change Management, 19:1, 38-53

Latour, B., & Woolgar, S. (1986). Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts (2nd edition)Ewing, NJ: Princeton University Press

Malcolm, J. and Zukas, M. (2009) ‘Making a mess of academic work: experience, purpose, identity’, Teaching in Higher Education 14:5, 495-506

Teichler, U. (2009) The Employment and Work Situation of the Academic Profession: Findings of Comparative Surveys: A Report submitted to the International Labour Office

Shattock, M. (2012) Making Policy in British Higher Education 1945-2011, Open University Press

Tight, M. (2010) ‘Are academic workloads increasing? The post-war survey evidence in the UK’, Higher Education Quarterly, 64:2, 200-215