The unbundled academic: How academic life is being hollowed out

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Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 33 : Reshaping Higher Education

July, 2010, 654 pages
Published by
M. Devlin, J. Nagy and A. Lichtenberg
0 908557 80 9

Academic practice is rapidly disaggregating, or ‘unbundling’, as a result of the massification of national systems, the application of technology in teaching, and increasing specialisation of academic roles to promote a managerialist and performative culture. This is undermining the integrative nature of academic practice based on the three core elements of teaching, research and service. This paper will present an analysis of the way that academic practice is unbundling leading to the emergence of the ‘para- academics’ who specialise in one element of academic practice. Examples are drawn from the UK and Australia. The adverse effect of this change on the student experience and academic citizenship is considered.

Keywords: academic practice, unbundling, para-academic