Generation gap (1 of 2)

August 9, 2012

It may be that my advancing years have rendered me more sensitive, but I have a strong suspicion that the research by the Higher Education Funding Council for England that concludes that a "bottleneck" of over-sixties is blocking the flow of new blood into the academy is useful cover for the fact that academic jobs are becoming more difficult to obtain and to perform ("Age may not wither them but stale sector needs variety of staff", News, 2 August).

With the current "business model" of higher education, many young academics are increasingly obliged to service larger and larger numbers of students while producing publishable research with "impact" in their spare time. And, as Hefce toys with the idea of policing academics' time even further by requiring "time allocation surveys" ("How do academics spend their time? Filling out forms about how they spend their time...", News, 2 August), the role of a new academic looks increasingly like that of an assembly line worker.

The greatest danger to young academics' advancement is not "dog in the manger" oldies but the increasingly transactional nature of the role and the obsession with the "bottom line".

Mary Brown, Freelance education consultant, Banchory, Scotland

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Daniel Mitchell illustration (29 June 2017)

Academics who think they can do the work of professional staff better than professional staff themselves are not showing the kind of respect they expect from others

celebrate, cheer, tef results

Emilie Murphy calls on those who challenged the teaching excellence framework methodology in the past to stop sharing their university ratings with pride

A podium constructed out of wood

There are good reasons why some big names are missing from our roster

Senior academics at Teesside University put at risk of redundancy as summer break gets under way

Thorns and butterflies

Conditions that undermine the notion of scholarly vocation – relentless work, ubiquitous bureaucracy – can cause academics acute distress and spur them to quit, says Ruth Barcan