At the other end of the chalk divide: a survey of sessional academics in a Regional Australian University

McGrath, Paul, and Le Queux, Stephane (2014) At the other end of the chalk divide: a survey of sessional academics in a Regional Australian University. In: Presentation from the 28th AIRAANZ Conference. From: 28th AIRAANZ Conference, 5-7 February 2014, Melbourne, VIC, Australia. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The shift of Higher Education into a business model has led to an increasing use of a casual so-called 'sessional' workforce, thus creating a two-tiered internal labour market in academe. Current estimates place casual teaching positions at just above fifty per cent of the total Australian academic workforce, far beyond the national casual employment average. Further research suggests that up to eighty per cent of first year subjects are taught by sessional staff. Long opposed to a drift away from standard academic employment, the National Tertiary Education Union is now advocating the establishment of permanent teaching positions, with supposably limited scope for research and professional development. While setting the discussion in the broader context of the commodification and marketization of knowledge, managerialism and the subsequent restructuring of the 'industry', this presentation aims at presenting the preliminary results of a survey of sessional academics working in two campuses, North and Far North Queensland. Replicating a research design developed by colleagues from the University of Newcastle, the survey focuses on aspects of the academics' working life and career aspirations. Data (n=102) tend to indicate that while they overall report satisfaction from their teaching, those who contemplate an academic career worry about their future prospects in the academe. The final discussion will address the issue of deskilling in the light of on-going changes in the labour process within Higher Education.

Item ID: 32681
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Keywords: career advancement, higher education, casualisation, sessional academics
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Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2014 03:54
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1503 Business and Management > 150306 Industrial Relations @ 100%
SEO Codes: 91 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 9104 Management and Productivity > 910401 Industrial Relations @ 100%
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