'I'm not a real academic' : a career from industry to academe

Santoro, Ninetta and Snead, S (2013) 'I'm not a real academic' : a career from industry to academe. Journal of Further and Higher Education. ISSN 0309-877X

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Abstract

Over the past thirty years universities have increasingly extended their offerings of vocationally oriented degrees and have recruited into academe, practitioners from the professions. This paper reports on a qualitative study that investigated the experiences of 20 professionals-turned-academics in Australia; their expectations of academe and how they defined, resisted and took up the multiple and changing roles associated with academic work. Findings indicate that the majority experienced nostalgia for universities of the past which they imagined to be places of intellectual elitism and curiosity-driven research and scholarship. At the same time, they identified strongly as practitioners within their professional fields, were committed to field-oriented practical education and resisted taking up researcher identities, understanding ‘real’ research in narrowly defined terms. Our discussion of these findings highlights the tension between what is desired and what is real in academe and its impact on job performance and satisfaction for this group of academics.