Many universities, including those which see themselves as research intensive, have been struggling with the place of ‘research only’ and ‘teaching only’ staff in recent years. Some are keen to establish ‘teaching only’ or ‘teaching focussed’ positions, while others are concerned that this will lead to a second class of citizens, the teaching hacks who carry the greatest burden in educating students, but have no prospects for real career progression and get none of the spoils of researchers. Some say that casual or sessional staff are already employed as ‘teaching only’ and hence we don’t need continuing ‘teaching focussed’ academic staff.
I note that while UNSW’s new Vice Chancellor seems keen on the idea of ‘teaching focussed’ appointments, the proposed new Enterprise Agreement does not introduce true teaching focussed positions, but continues the arrangement of prior Agreements:
“All teaching and research academic staff will be provided with the opportunity to undertake the full range of academic duties commensurate with the classification level to which they have been appointed. It is recognised that at a given point in an academic career, an employee may agree with their supervisor to perform a predominantly teaching or research role for a defined period due to the performance strengths or preferences of the employee.”
Should we have teaching focussed appointments? Should we have research focussed appointments? Should everyone do everything? Should roles be amenable to change over time? I’d love to hear your views.