Hunt the shadow not the substance : the rise of the career academic in construction education

Tennant, Stuart and Murray, Mike and Forster, Alan and Pilcher, Nick (2015) Hunt the shadow not the substance : the rise of the career academic in construction education. Teaching in Higher Education, 20 (7). 723 – 737. ISSN 1356-2517

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    Abstract

    Construction education is context-laden, navigating and reflecting the byzantine influences of period, place and person. Despite considerable rhetoric, in UK higher education (HE) and construction studies in particular the importance of contextualized teaching is being devalued. Over the past decade a growing number of new teaching staff to university lecturing has limited or no industrial experience of the construction sector. This paper explores the rise of the career academic in construction education and implications for teaching standards and student learning. Whilst career academics exhibit research skills and afford funding possibilities that universities find appealing, pedagogical studies suggest that experience-led, contextualized teaching offer students enhanced educational value. Policy-making and pedagogical strategies that continue to value research at the expense of teaching excellence coupled with recruitment of career academics as opposed to industry professionals present new challenges for construction education, teaching and student learning.