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
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