‘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.
- professional industrial experience
- career academic
- Recruitment policy
- Construction and Engineering Education
Pilcher, N., Forster, A., Tennant, S., Murray, M., & Craig, N. (2017). Problematizing the ‘Career Academic’ in UK construction and engineering education: does the system want what the system gets? European Journal of Engineering Education, 42(6), 1477-1495. https://doi.org/10.1080/03043797.2017.1306487