Articles on Academics

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Despite online courses available for free, university students still want the experience of bricks and mortar campuses. University campus image from www.shutterstock.com

MOOCs will mean the death of universities? Not likely

MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, are gaining a lot of attention. Some commentators believe that these free internet-delivered courses are the future of university education. Others meanwhile argue…
The pressure on academics is becoming too much, there needs to be cultural change. Stressed image from www.shutterstock.com

Cracks in the ivory tower: is academia’s culture sustainable?

The pressure is on. More and more universities and academics are working in a culture that is untenable and cracks in the ivory tower have already begun to appear. The work environment is now characterised…
Academic writing doesn’t have to be old and dusty. Wyoming_Jackrabbit

Seven secrets of stylish academic writing

Imagine that the editor of a widely-read magazine or, say, The Conversation has heard about your academic research and invited you to contribute an article. But you only know how to produce stodgy, impersonal…
Women are equally represented in academia, but most professors are still men. Flickr/Herkie

Why do female academics give up on becoming professors?

Australian higher education is often seen as a female-friendly industry, with overall numbers of both female students and academic staff outnumbering men. Yet women remain a minority as senior academics…
Congratulations class of 2011, you’ve been given the opportunity to have real-life professors – future classes might not. Flickr/Pauls Creative Cakes

Lost professors: we won’t need academics in 60 years

The University of Melbourne was founded in 1885 with five professors teaching 15 students. In 1952, at the start of the post-war tertiary boom, there were around 3,000 Australian academics teaching 30,000…
Universities are centres of research… but what kind of research? flickr/pcgn

A question universities need to answer: why do we research?

Fundamentally, there are two big motives for research. On the on hand there is intellectual ambition: the desire to know and understand the word, to appreciate the best that has been said and thought on…
Local history has an important place in Australia. The academic world should get involved. Flickr/Kate's Photo Diary

Academic snobbery: local historians need more support

Local history is one of the most popular forms of history in Australia. Yet there is a yawning gap between the enthusiastic amateur and the academic historian. While some academic historians engage with…

Collegiality is dead in the new corporatised university

The collaborative spirit once embraced by universities in the pursuit of community service is giving way to confidentiality and secrecy as top-down managerialism takes hold, a conference on higher education…
Overstretched casuals hold little hope of getting more secure work. Flickr/hackNY

Career prospects are grim, say casuals on campus

Casual academics are deeply pessimistic about the prospect of ongoing employment, according to a study that shows only one…
Maori academics in New Zealand should be wary of talking to the non-Maori media. Flickr/geoftheref

Academic bashing in the media – a first-hand account

Maybe it’s the lot of academics to be misrepresented, but when a single incident can nearly get you sacked it makes you reconsider whether to deal with the media at all. Last year, comments of mine about…
International education might not be as healthy as it seems Tim Ellis/Flickr.

Figures for international student enrolments can be misleading

International education has become a vital industry for the Australian economy, in recent years rivalling coal and iron ore as one of our largest export industries. But the way we’re calculating international…
Academics should talk more openly about their research and help influence public policy AAP.

Why academics should get involved in public debate

Raymond Da Silva Rosa’s article, also published on The Conversation, kindly refers to my recent piece in the Australian Literary Review, which examined why generally academics exert so little impact on…
Are these the sorts of speakers you go to a university to hear? AAP.

Why academics should steer clear of public debate

The most important issue raised by Lord Monckton’s controversial appearance on two Western Australian campuses is not the limit of free speech or Monckton’s scientific competence. Rather it is whether…
The old system led to institutions urging their academics to write for the top-ranked academic journals only. Håkan Dahlström, Flickr

Journal rankings ditched: the experts respond

The Australian government has dropped the contentious system of ranking academic journals and assessing academics based on…

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