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Academic identities for the 21st century

Smith, Jan (2010) Academic identities for the 21st century. Teaching in Higher Education, 15 (6). pp. 721-727. ISSN 1356-2517

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Abstract

The academic identities for the twenty-first century conference sought time and space to explore ways of being in a contemporary university sector beset by challenges. As visions for ‘the university’ become increasingly diversified, technologies impact and hybrid roles emerge, it is apposite to question the conditions of work and study in higher education. For staff and students alike, the notion of destabilisation can frame identities in response to changes in institutional priorities. Accompanying such destabilisation, however, are creative, resilient and autonomous appeals to some fundamental values that have long characterised academic life. The underlying spirit of the conference was one of hope. No matter how hostile some contemporary rhetoric, many still aspire to a higher education that cares, inspires and empowers. This review elaborates on these themes through summaries of some of the work presented. Its aim is to convey an impression of the conference to those unable to attend, and perhaps to provoke reflection on what it means to work and study in the university of the twenty-first century.