The Academic: a profession with ethics and care for the digital age student.

Kanuga, Ingrid (2015) The Academic: a profession with ethics and care for the digital age student. Working Paper. Kanuga, Ingrid, University of Reading. (Submitted)

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As a result of the changing social-economic environments; the number of undergraduate degree completions in the UK has increased by 45% in just 15 years, whilst in the same period post graduate completions have more than doubled (HESA, 2015) Government, students and industry demand “one click” visibility of quality standards, students’ surveys and publications (Buckley et. al., 2015). As such, with performance data available to all, the institutions are under pressure to respond to these demands and are moving away from an employment pattern which could be associated with the public sector, towards incorporating private-sector elements (Kanuga, 2014; Weert, 2001). Ongoing government changes are pushing universities towards more target driven business strategies both for student recruitment and research grants (Williams, 2008). Academics research outputs, quality and effectiveness of teaching are being measured through performance targets (Weert, 2001). Academics are under pressure to deliver the expectations of the digital age students, to meet performance targets set by non-academic line managers as well as publish their research (Williams, 2008; Deerlove, 2002; Weert, 2001). This study explores to which extend academics are able to meet the ethical care they are aiming to provide to students whilst staying true to their self-understanding of academe as a profession.
When comparing it to literature, perhaps the definition of the academic profession remains inconclusive. Practitioners feel it is a profession because of social status whilst literature, through tracing its history, classes it a profession because of specialist knowledge. This specialist knowledge is however not linked to any specific qualifications or accreditation. It is perhaps for this reason that neither literature nor practice clearly link the role to a duty of ethical care. If academics were required to complete a course which corresponds with the profession then this might encourage more professional attitude. An alternative or addition to this could be to ask academics to become fellows of the Higher Education Academy and to aim for senior or associate fellow. To do so they would need to provide evidence of their practices, perhaps even change these (Higher Education Academy 2015). They would go through panel interviews and need to reflect on their ethical care towards students. If academics became certified and members of a professional body, then this would remove the debate if it constitutes a profession and if this profession is focused on research or teaching.

Item Type: Report (Working Paper)
Subjects: Education
Depositing User: Ingrid Kanuga
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2016 11:02
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 07:07


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