A caring profession

March 5, 2004

I wish we could add a fourth category for promotion - student care - to the triumvirate of teaching, research and administration ("Two out of three is just not enough", February ).

In most universities, academic staff are automatically made personal tutors with no training or resources. Unsurprisingly, many staff do nothing in this role and instead use the time for research. Others, often women, have to deal with the needs of their own students, plus those of their less-motivated colleagues.

The result is that those who take student care seriously are committing career suicide.

Until the skills involved in being a personal tutor are recognised and rewarded in the promotion process, student care will not be taken seriously.

David E. Flavell
Liverpool John Moores University

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Universities in most nations are now obliged to prioritise graduate career prospects, but how it should be approached depends on your view of the meaning of education. Academics need to think that through much more clearly, says Tom Cutterham


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