We’ve been wanting to put together information for casual staff at Australian universities, who need resources and funding to develop or sustain their research careers, whether that be academic, alt-ac, or professional.
We’re told*** that it’s highly engaging for students to be taught by people who are actively also researchers and highly engaged in their own careers. Now that the rate of casualisation of teaching affects so many university students, we expect universities to start to be concerned about this. So think of this as a helpful nudge.
Because we think there are some institutional risks associated with delivering a two-tier student experience, more or less decided by the lottery of enrolment and timetable, especially in research intensive universities. Will you really be taught by a leading or even emerging researcher in the discipline, as the marketing brochure and institutional ranking/s suggest? *
Below, our first list that is the result of 18 months investigation into research funding and development opportunities for casual and sessional university employees who are not currently enrolled in a PhD or other Higher Degree Research program**.
Research funding and development for casual staff available at Australian universities:
Yes, this list is complete. We’re hoping it will be the shortest.
(If you know of research funding development opportunities available to casual and sessional university employees who are not otherwise enrolled as research students, and that aren’t training opportunities directly related to institutional quality assurance or minimising institutional risk in some way, please let us know and we’ll promote it with a parade and a marching band. Sometimes all it takes is for one university to have an idea.)
*And this has nothing to do with the quality of the casual teacher as teacher – and it’s really time supporters of casualisation stop throwing this particularly rank red herring into the mix.
** And including those who are still within institutional time limits for completion.
*** UPDATE: A very good question by @snarkyphd on Twitter highlighted that we have no official source for our original statement (“Measures of student engagement tell us…”) except for what comes from those who are quite invested in linking student engagement with staff’s high(er and higher) research productivity. Indeed, upon searching for a source, we found this and this which definitely throws a big, shiny spanner into the works.
We do, however, maintain that being taught by someone who is not only highly engaged with and passionate about their chosen career, but who also has good reason to be hopeful about that career because it is actively supported by their university, would be a win for any student.