Problematizing the ‘Career Academic’ in UK construction and engineering education: does the system want what the system gets?

Nick Pilcher, Alan Forster, Stuart Tennant, MIke Murray, Nigel Craig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

‘Career Academics’ are principally research-led, and enter academia with limited or no industrial or practical experience. UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) welcome them for their potential to attain research grant funding and publish world-leading journal papers, ultimately enhancing institutional reputation. This polemical paper problematizes the Career Academic around three areas: their institutional appeal; their impact on the student experience, team dynamics and broader academic functions and; current strategic policy to employ them. We also argue recent UK government teaching-focused initiatives will not address the need to employ practical academics, or ‘Pracademics’, albeit in a predominantly vocational discipline such as Construction and Engineering Education. We generate questions for policy makers, institutions, and those implementing strategy. We argue research is key, but partial rebalancing will achieve a diverse academic skill base to achieve contextualised construction and engineering education. In a wider European context, the paper resonates with issues of academic ‘drift’ and provides reflection for others on the UK context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1477-1495
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Engineering Education
Volume42
Issue number6
Early online date4 Apr 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2017

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academic career
Engineering education
engineering
education
reputation
grant
appeal
Teaching
experience
Lead
Education
funding
Students
student

Keywords

  • REF
  • TEF
  • professional industrial experience
  • career academic
  • Recruitment policy
  • Construction and Engineering Education

Cite this

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title = "Problematizing the ‘Career Academic’ in UK construction and engineering education: does the system want what the system gets?",
abstract = "‘Career Academics’ are principally research-led, and enter academia with limited or no industrial or practical experience. UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) welcome them for their potential to attain research grant funding and publish world-leading journal papers, ultimately enhancing institutional reputation. This polemical paper problematizes the Career Academic around three areas: their institutional appeal; their impact on the student experience, team dynamics and broader academic functions and; current strategic policy to employ them. We also argue recent UK government teaching-focused initiatives will not address the need to employ practical academics, or ‘Pracademics’, albeit in a predominantly vocational discipline such as Construction and Engineering Education. We generate questions for policy makers, institutions, and those implementing strategy. We argue research is key, but partial rebalancing will achieve a diverse academic skill base to achieve contextualised construction and engineering education. In a wider European context, the paper resonates with issues of academic ‘drift’ and provides reflection for others on the UK context.",
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Problematizing the ‘Career Academic’ in UK construction and engineering education : does the system want what the system gets? / Pilcher, Nick; Forster, Alan; Tennant, Stuart; Murray, MIke; Craig, Nigel.

In: European Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 42, No. 6, 12.12.2017, p. 1477-1495.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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