Part-time staff are 'wasted resource'

September 21, 2001

The expertise and enthusiasm of many part-time lecturers and postgraduate tutors are being wasted, according to lecturers' unions.

A Natfhe-led report has found that part-timers, who make up as much as 38 per cent of academic staff at some institutions, are undervalued, underused, isolated and unable to give proper support to students.

It found that they are not adequately supported and are effectively excluded from any professional development training.

The report, Out in the Cold? , says: "The sector needs to view part-time lecturers and postgraduate tutors as a valuable resource. Currently this resource is not made the most of and their expertise and enthusiasm is not fed back into the system."

The report, based on surveys at three institutions in the same region, found that 94 per cent of part-timers and postgraduate tutors said that they should be given training, with 83 per cent supporting the idea of obtaining a professional qualification. But it found that training was minimal.

Job insecurity and contractual discontinuity mean that part-timers were unable to plan ahead and "make the most of their teaching and teaching materials".

More than a third of staff questioned said they had no involvement in developing effective learning environments and learning support systems.

Part-timers were denied access to proper facilities: 19.1 per cent had their own office space but 38.9 per cent were barred from even shared office space.

"Part-time lecturers and postgraduate tutors are an integral part of the delivery of higher education and need much more support," said report author Liz Allen, of Natfhe.

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