Universities are at a “critical historical juncture” and academics should act on four fronts to support academics to teach and research, Lew Zipin and Marie Brennan (both Uni SA School of Education adjuncts) argue in a new paper for the Australian Association for Research in Education.
They warn the “will and vital capacity” of universities to support academics who both teach and research is threatened by government policy and university leaderships diverting money into “HR, marketing, legal and other offices.” Consulting firms also, “play a political role in generating rationales for university councils and managements to invest more in teaching and less in research,” they warn.
This is all very bad indeed as, “the combination of research and teaching is a unique way that universities contribute to social advancements. Research is an invaluable connector between academics, students, and local-global communities, which need sustaining so that all can benefit.”
Zipin and Brennan propose four actions to defend balanced teaching-research work.
* “consult widely about what kinds of universities diverse Australians need and desire for their futures
* “mobilise students and communities to join us in challenging governance constraints,” (and) “communicate to wider publics how the quality of both research and teaching in Australian universities is under threat
* “challenge governance across the sector to expand early-career research time and opportunity within fair workloads. … Older academics need to learn from younger colleagues about how they experience changing university cultures
* “spur our research organisations … to help us take action.”