Why do people become academics? a personal, reflective, account linking higher education & community development

2.50
Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10547/622826
Title:
Why do people become academics? a personal, reflective, account linking higher education & community development
Authors:
Derounian, James
Abstract:
Higher education is in a state of flux. With austerity challenging assumptions of a comfortable career path for academics. Many academics report pressure to perform across research and teaching. In this article the author addresses two questions – why do people become academics? And how, if at all, are university teaching, and community development connected? The research explored includes personal reflection; views on academic teaching from colleagues, plus those from academics at a number of UK universities. Amongst the findings is the fact that a number of responding UK academics expressed the view that they had stepped onto a ‘conveyor belt’ that led from positive undergraduate experience, eventually to an academic post. The findings also present a strong case for alignment and mutual reinforcement of higher education teaching and approaches to community engagement. The one nurtures the other. In this article my aim is to understand why academics in the 21st century choose their profession. During the 1970s I was lucky enough to be taught by the late Professor Gerald Wibberley at London University. ‘Wibb’, as he was affectionately known, was an inspiring practical academic, who seemed to enjoy teaching and research. If he were alive today, we would say he was steeped in understanding and acting to promote sustainability. In this he was years ahead of his time; and like the best academics he didn’t dodge difficult questions, and argued using evidence. Professor Wibberley had been strongly involved in developing UK agricultural policy for Government, but underwent a ‘conversion’; in that he became vocal about the ills of technologically‐driven farming – destruction of wildlife, decimation of jobs on the land and pollution. To illustrate his academic fearlessness, I remember, as an undergraduate, being captivated by his account of a run‐in with the National Farmers’ Union. At their annual conference he warned, ‘if you don’t behave, and mend your damaging practices, well…. think yourself lucky we live in a democracy because ‐ if we became a dictatorship ‐ they could take you outside, put you against a wall and shoot the lot of you’! He concluded with relish that as a result the audience had lined up to lynch him! His obituary in the Independent newspaper (Clayton, 1993) read: ‘His gift for public speaking was memorable…But he was at his most eloquent when gently berating a hostile audience for not seeing the folly of their views.’
Affiliation:
University of Gloucestershire
Citation:
Derounian, J. (2018) 'Why do people become academics? a personal, reflective, account linking higher education & community development', Journal of pedagogic development 8 (2) 55-66
Publisher:
University of Bedfordshire
Journal:
Journal of pedagogic development
Issue Date:
Aug-2018
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10547/622826
Additional Links:
https://journals.beds.ac.uk/ojs/index.php/jpd/article/view/458
Type:
Article
Language:
en
ISSN:
2047-3265
Appears in Collections:
Journal of Pedagogic Development

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorDerounian, Jamesen
dc.date.accessioned2018-08-13T13:34:15Z-
dc.date.available2018-08-13T13:34:15Z-
dc.date.issued2018-08-
dc.identifier.citationDerounian, J. (2018) 'Why do people become academics? a personal, reflective, account linking higher education & community development', Journal of pedagogic development 8 (2) 55-66en
dc.identifier.issn2047-3265-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10547/622826-
dc.description.abstractHigher education is in a state of flux. With austerity challenging assumptions of a comfortable career path for academics. Many academics report pressure to perform across research and teaching. In this article the author addresses two questions – why do people become academics? And how, if at all, are university teaching, and community development connected? The research explored includes personal reflection; views on academic teaching from colleagues, plus those from academics at a number of UK universities. Amongst the findings is the fact that a number of responding UK academics expressed the view that they had stepped onto a ‘conveyor belt’ that led from positive undergraduate experience, eventually to an academic post. The findings also present a strong case for alignment and mutual reinforcement of higher education teaching and approaches to community engagement. The one nurtures the other. In this article my aim is to understand why academics in the 21st century choose their profession. During the 1970s I was lucky enough to be taught by the late Professor Gerald Wibberley at London University. ‘Wibb’, as he was affectionately known, was an inspiring practical academic, who seemed to enjoy teaching and research. If he were alive today, we would say he was steeped in understanding and acting to promote sustainability. In this he was years ahead of his time; and like the best academics he didn’t dodge difficult questions, and argued using evidence. Professor Wibberley had been strongly involved in developing UK agricultural policy for Government, but underwent a ‘conversion’; in that he became vocal about the ills of technologically‐driven farming – destruction of wildlife, decimation of jobs on the land and pollution. To illustrate his academic fearlessness, I remember, as an undergraduate, being captivated by his account of a run‐in with the National Farmers’ Union. At their annual conference he warned, ‘if you don’t behave, and mend your damaging practices, well…. think yourself lucky we live in a democracy because ‐ if we became a dictatorship ‐ they could take you outside, put you against a wall and shoot the lot of you’! He concluded with relish that as a result the audience had lined up to lynch him! His obituary in the Independent newspaper (Clayton, 1993) read: ‘His gift for public speaking was memorable…But he was at his most eloquent when gently berating a hostile audience for not seeing the folly of their views.’en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherUniversity of Bedfordshireen
dc.relation.urlhttps://journals.beds.ac.uk/ojs/index.php/jpd/article/view/458en
dc.rights.urihttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/*
dc.subjectacademicen
dc.subjecthigher educationen
dc.subjectuniversityen
dc.subjectbecoming an academicen
dc.subjectX342 Academic studies in Higher Educationen
dc.titleWhy do people become academics? a personal, reflective, account linking higher education & community developmenten
dc.typeArticleen
dc.contributor.departmentUniversity of Gloucestershireen
dc.identifier.journalJournal of pedagogic developmenten
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