The morphing of academic practice: unbundling and the rise of the para-academic

Bruce Macfarlane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

207 Citations (Scopus)


Teaching, research and service are the three conventional elements of academic practice, recognised on an international basis. However, evidence suggests that academic practice is rapidly disaggregating, or ?unbundling?, as a result of a variety of forces including the massification of national systems, the application of technology in teaching and increasing specialisation of academic roles to support a more centralised and performative culture. This article will present an analysis of these changes linked to the emergence of the ?para-academic?: staff who specialise in one element of academic practice. This includes the ?up-skilling? of professional support staff and the ?deskilling? of academic staff. The implications of this change for the quality of the student experience and the sustainablity of academic citizenship are considered
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-73
Number of pages15
JournalHigher Education Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


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