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Need evidence about detrimental career impact of pastoral roles in academia

(7 Posts)
grumpyfeminist Fri 18-Nov-16 20:37:28

A proposal has been made in my academic workplace about giving staff with "more affinity for" and "better skills for" student support a heavier pastoral workload & giving staff who are crap and careless at it different work to balance out workloads (e.g. More teaching, research student supervision). I am pretty certain (but need to check) that being a proper trooper at pastoral care does not feature anywhere in the academic promotion criteria for my institution. I also think there will be a significant gender bias in the allocation of this work if the idea gets buy-in, with many of my conscientious female colleagues loaded up with the extra pastoral duties of their colleagues. As I have an opportunity to influence policy & a very fair-minded head of department, I think a carefully argued case would go a long way to killing this off. Is there any good academic research out there into the impact of pastoral roles on academic career progression which would help to make it a slamdunk case? I have heard it referred to in sector women's leadership events, but I need proper references. Thanks in advance.

PausingFlatly Fri 18-Nov-16 20:45:41

Can't help with refs, I'm afraid.

But if you don't get any hits re impact of pastoral roles, then refs showing teaching or supervising have positive effects on career progression or even on ability to teach (which may indirectly impact progression), might be a good fall back.

grumpyfeminist Fri 18-Nov-16 20:59:32

Thanks Pausing. Incidentally, I am not an academic so it won't help me, but I have huge respect for my female colleagues & want to make sure the proposed changes are impact assessed preferably to oblivion if there is any whiff of disadvantage .

scaryclown Fri 18-Nov-16 21:20:43

Academic promotion cases are usually made primarily on research income, output and 'esteem points' ie requests to talk at other institutions, prizes etc that promote your research as a 'university of x academic'. Teaching gets nods, but often isnt regarded as 'serious' ..weirdly of course as good effective teaching maximises the availability of good research students and acts as a funnel for continued research ..and therefore research funding. Pastoral administration tasks are even lower..but conversely academics who have strong pastoral skills tend to have stronger research teams arpund them..

What often happens is aggressively careerist academics claim low pastoral abilities or poor admin capability, avoid these tasls or just dont do them, use the time gained to do more talks, research grants and meetin industry or other funding streams, and then be openly critical of academics who arent improving the research profile. These same academics also tend to argue for fewer admin and nom-academic staff to a. increase academic salaries and b. get their internal competitors to do more admin ..so that they can accelerate their relative research and esteem points and keep strengthening their case for salaries.

Just gently mentioning this game will send the most aggressive into gulping paroxysms and declarations of your insanity, so no wonder you are seeking evidence.

Female, and new academics are definitely flattered into taking on pastoral and admin tasks without understanding that its career damaging. VERY strong administrators can have pastoral avtivity as a salary point scorer, and of course pastoral/admin skillcan be valuable in negotiating moves..and can also get you networked and recognised. Weak administrators and heads of dept will struggle. The difficult here though is that academics who are careerist may seek committee positions and openly bully or undermine by voting an administrator seeking to encourage the promotion of more pastoral colleagues..as it undermines their salary and status game (which no doubt they would have plaued differently is pastoral was prized in salary negotiations.

The THES will have articles and Liverpool John Moores have some really good research on patterns in academia.

Use keywords like 'esteem points' 'academic promotions' etc

Athena Swan may have addressed this issue and most subject royal societies will have something abput this in research on career progression

Hope this helps

scaryclown Fri 18-Nov-16 21:24:11

oh and I expect the funding bodies EPSRC, ESRC etc may have some papers on it too..espevially STEM bodies like Royal Society of Chemistry, Inst of physics institute of electrical engineers etc..

grumpyfeminist Fri 18-Nov-16 21:55:40

Thank you.

PausingFlatly Sat 19-Nov-16 09:53:00

scary, thank you for that very interesting post. That's given me some useful insight.

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