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Who pays the piper? Who calls the tune? Implications of policy for the future academic workforce

By Fran Beaton


UK Higher Education has experienced major changes in recent decades, based on contested ideas about the purposes of Higher Education. Successive policies evidence a trend towards external control ’… steering at a distance.’ (Brennan, Locke, Naidoo 2007:164) and scrutiny of universities’ offer and performance in various forms: Key Information Sets, National Student Survey, QAA audit, REF, TEF. Increased fees have contributed to a problematic discourse of students as consumers. League tables chart universities’ positioning and prestige. However, employment has become less secure, with growing numbers on fixed-term or part-time contracts. All these impact on academics’ attitudes and experiences in a pressured and stratified workforce. \ud \ud This paper draws on literature, national data and an institutional case study to consider the particular challenges for one group of would-be academics, Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs), and the implications for academic developers trying to prepare them for their current work and possible futures

Topics: LB2300
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