Tertiary education workforce

Women in the Science Research Workforce

Sharon Bell and Lyn Yates (2015)

This report is designed to be accessible to the sector and policymakers. It is a revised version of the preliminary report supplied to participants in the Women in the Scientific Research Workforce Workshop on 29 October 2014 at the University of Melbourne. This version of the report incorporates feedback from participants and reinforces key themes arising from the workshop.

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Contingent academic employment in Australian universities

Stuart Andrews, Liz Bare, Peter Bentley, Leo Goedegebuure, Catherine Pugsley & Bianca Rance (2016)

As in many countries over the last 25 years or so, universities in Australia have been subject to substantial change and expansion. The Australian higher education student cohort has grown from 441,000 in 1989 to 1.4 million in 2014 (DETYA, 2001; Australian Government, 2015b). This has been accompanied by a progressive decline in direct government support per student and a substantial increase in the level and percentage of tied short-term funding flowing from national research granting bodies. Australia's universities have offset the decline in per student government funding by accessing the volatile international higher education student market. In 2013 there were 348,000 international students enrolled in Australian higher education institutions onshore and offshore (constituting 25% of the total student numbers) (Australian Government, 2015b). At the same time, the introduction of unrestricted competition between institutions for domestic students over the past 3 years has increased uncertainty and difficulty in forecasting enrolment numbers for some universities. Research performance is perceived as critical to student recruitment, with institutional research performance and world rankings being used as a measure of institutional status.

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Thinking about Higher Education

Paul Gibbs and Ronald Barnett (2014)

Higher education is being changed in two ways. First, it is becoming more utilitar ian and specifically vocational as a consequence of the dominance of economic values in contemporary society and policy which subordinates higher education and its institutions as instruments of micro-economic policy. Second, the rhetoric of ‘the knowledge society’ seems to undermine the distinctiveness of ‘higher’ edu cation and its institutions. Both processes contribute to undermining the academic disciplines and their location within institutions of higher education. The irony is that prosperous, socially inclusive, knowledge rich societies rely on the store of knowledge developed, codified, curated and transmitted by I higher education institutions. More fundamentally, they rely on an understanding of the nature of knowledge and of the means of its generation—research—which are undermined by utilitarianism and by the genericism posited by the knowledge society.

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Recasting the academic workforce

Hamish Coates and Leo Goedegebuure (2012)

This article analyses academic work and the academic workforce in the context of current dynamics and likely futures. It discusses the significance of academic work, reviews workforce characteristics, and analyses tensions and pressures. Prevailing conceptualisations, it is argued, do not reflect the current situation in which the profession finds itself, and would provide a very shaky foundation on which to build the future workforce. There is an overarching need for a fresh conceptualisation of academic work that is authentic and feasible and suggestions are offered of what this might look like. A number of strategies are proposed how such a recasting might be implemented. The paper works from Australian research, and make suggestions for other systems.

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Job Satisfaction around the Academic World

Bentley, P.J., Coates, H., Dobson, I., Goedegebuure, L., Meek, V.L. (Eds.) (2013)

Higher education systems have changed all over the world, but not all have changed in the same ways. Although system growth and so-called massification have been worldwide themes, there have been system-specific changes as well. It is these changes that have an important impact on academic work and on the opinions of the staff that work in higher education. The academic profession has a key role to play in producing the next generations of knowledge workers, and this task will be more readily achieved by a contented academic workforce working within well-resourced teaching and research institutions. This volume tells the story of academics’ opinions about the changes in their own countries.

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The Impact of economic crisis on higher education

V. Lynn Meek and Mary Leahy (2012)

In late 2009, the UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education in Bangkok, Thailand, established the Educational Research Institutes Network in the Asia-Pacific (ERI-Net) to encourage and facilitate regional cooperation in carrying out analytical studies on tertiary education policy issues in the region. The first task of ERI-Net was to conduct a study on the impact of the 2008 global economic crisis on higher education. Preliminary findings were shared with policy makers, university researchers and educators from China, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of Korea and Thailand at an ERI-Net seminar held in Bangkok on July 2010. Based on the discussion, feedback and recommendation from participants, the case studies were revised and are now available in this publication.

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