Past Event details

The Marketisation of HE and its impact on academic identity and academic practice.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Academic Identity

‘Not a real academic’: Academic identity on teaching-focussed contracts.

Dr Sarah Dyer, University of Exeter

The growth of teaching-only contracts marks a significant reconstruction of academic work. In the UK, in the five years to 2013-14, the percentage of people employed on traditional research and teaching contracts fell to below half of those on academic contracts (51.5% to 48.6%), whilst those on teaching-only contracts rose to nearly a third (25.6% to 27.1%) (Locke et al. 2016). These figures don’t account for the substantial numbers of university employees on non-academic contracts undertaking teaching nor those employed as sessional lecturers or graduate teaching assistants.

We need to understand the individual and collective effects of this restructuring. Teaching-only contracts are more likely to be temporary and part-time than ‘traditional’ contracts. They are also more likely to be held by women and black and minority ethnic (BME) staff (Fung and Gordon 2016). However, Nyamapfene (2014) argues that teaching-only academics are responding to and challenging their institutional setting and creating new productive academic identities.

Sarah will examine these changes through the lens of collective responses to this restructuring of academic labour, exploring the strategies and tactics teaching-focused academics employ and reflecting on what these tell us about academic labour and the Neo-liberal University more generally.

1.      Locke, W., C. Whitchurch, H. Smith & A. Mazenod. 2016. “Shifting landscapes. Meeting the staff development needs of the changing academic workforce.” York: Higher Education Academy.

2.     Nyamapfene, A. 2014. “The teaching-only academic role in research intensive universities: a case of spoiled identity?” In Higher Education Academy STEM conference.



Academic Practice

Sustaining academic integrity in a marketised HE sector: a tough job but somebody’s got to do it!

Dr Richard Scullion, University of Bournemouth

In this presentation Richard will draw on work he has previously published with colleagues - notably Molesworth, Nixon and Scullion (2011) that draws attention to the corrosive influence on the nature of the university of the 'totalising logic' of the market, along with more recent work on the student as consumer (2016) and how a 'service oriented landscape' impacts the nature of the labour demanded of academics.

Richard will purposefully offer a dramatically bleak outlook as a form of both over interpretation and provocation.

1.     Molesworth, M., Scullion, R. and Nixon, E. (2011) The Marketisation of Higher Education and the Student as Consumer. Abingdon: Routledge.

2.       Nixon, E., Scullion, R. and Hearn R. (2016) Her majesty the student: marketised higher education and the narcissistic (dis)satisfactions of the student-consumer Studies in Higher Education [online] Accessed on 19 February 2018



Fusing academic identity and practice

The changing identities of academic developers in the context of marketised higher education: creative solutions and ways forward.

Dr Claire Gordon, London School of Economics


The paper explores the challenges and pressures that academic developers find themselves facing in the context of the creeping marketization of the UK higher education sector combined with the emergence of an increasingly heavy-handed regulator. It considers the particular challenges we face in furthering the strategic vision of our institutions where this work may bring us into conflict with our own value structures. Drawing on research work conducted with Professor Dilly Fung on ‘Rewarding Educators and Education Leaders in Research Intensive Universities’ (2016), the paper discusses possible ways forward for academic developers to carve out spaces to enhance the educational experience of our students as well as other areas of academic practice in authentic ways even in this challenging environment.

1.     Fung, Dilly and Claire Gordon. 2016. Rewarding educators and education leadership in research-intensive universities Higher Education Academy: York.

Network: Academic Practice
Date(s): Tuesday, 22 May 2018
Times: 12.00-15.30
Location: SRHE, 73 Collier Street, London N1 9BE
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