Supporting Part-Time Teaching Staff in Higher Education: Perspectives from Business and Health

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1 Higher Education Academy Joint Subject Centre Development Project Supporting Part-Time Teaching Staff in Higher Education: Perspectives from Business and Health Final Report This report arises from the findings of the Higher Education Academy Joint Subject Centre Development Project Supporting Part-Time Teaching Staff in Higher Education under the direction of Professor Jean Woodall (Director of the Business, Management, Accountancy and Finance Subject Centre) and Professor Catherine Geissler (Director of the Health Sciences and Practice Subject Centre), with contributions from Dr Valerie Anderson, Richard Atfield, Dr Norrie Brown, Colin Bryson, Joe Clark, Dr Nigel Courtney, Julie Davies, Carolyn Gibbon, Judith Margolis, Hugh Masters, Dr Arthur Morgan and Karen Ousey. The project team are grateful for the support and contribution of the Association of Business Schools to this project.

2 Contents Executive Summary Background Information Purpose of the Study Review of Relevant Literature The Project Design Main Findings HESA Data Analysis The Case Studies Part Time Teachers (PTT): Definition and Use School Strategies Towards PTTs Balancing the Advantages and Disadvantages of Using PTTs Support Offered to PTTs Support Required by PTTs Career Orientations of PTTs The Motivation of PTTs and their Orientations towards their HE Work Conclusion Recommendations Figure 1: The Context Identified by this Project Figure 2: Flowchart for Developing a School-Wide Approach Figure 3: Practical Measures Checklist References Glossary and Abbreviations Appendices This report was produced by the Business, Management, Accountancy and Finance, and Health Sciences and Practice Subject Centres, and should be attributed to Jean Woodall and Catherine Geissler, as the main authors. For further details contact or and to download further copies visit or Copyright 2009 Oxford Brookes University. All rights reserved. BMAF & HSAP Subject Centres

3 Executive Summary Background This report arises from the findings of the Higher Education Academy Joint Subject Centre Development Project Supporting Part-Time Teaching Staff in Higher Education, which was conducted between November 2006 and November 2008 on behalf of the Business Management Accountancy and Finance, and Health Sciences and Practice Subject Centres. Part-time teachers (PTTs) account for a substantial proportion of the UK academic labour market in the general fields of business and management, and health care. The focus of this project was PTTs who were mid-career professionals and experienced managers, consultants or clinical experts: the dominant group from which PTTs in these two fields are drawn. For this reason, graduate teaching assistants and contract researchers who might undertake part-time teaching were excluded from the study. Keywords: higher education; part-time; lecturer; teacher; educational development; midcareer professional; business school; health school; academic labour market Objectives of the Study 1. To identify from existing data sources, especially those collected through institutional returns to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the population characteristics of PTTs across two subject areas: Business, Management Accountancy and Finance (BMAF) and Health Sciences and Practice (HS&P). 2. To evaluate the nature of the development support offered to the target PTTs in a purposive sample of Higher Education (HE) providers in the subject disciplines covered by the BMAF and HS&P Subject Centres. 3. To evaluate, by means of individual interviews, the learning needs of purposive samples of such staff in terms of their careers, life stages and plans, preferred learning styles and personal learning strategies. Also to consider the policies, strategies and attitudes of their operational and senior managers. 4. To identify a number of interventions designed to improve the access of such staff to appropriate learning support, with a view to these being piloted within a range of HE providers. Project Design The empirical research, on which the findings were based, was drawn from two sources: an analysis of the annual institutional returns to HESA, and in particular, for those for onwards when part-time staff were, for the first time, reported as separate categories; open-ended permanent and fixed-term part-time. case studies of five business schools and five health schools drawn from a purposive sample of HEIs (although difficulties in obtaining access to older more research intensive universities proved difficult, and meant that post 92 universities were disproportionately represented). Data collection was based on semi-structured interviews with a total of 117 participants (60 from business schools and 57 from health schools) which took place with PTTs, operational managers (heads of department and course leaders) and the senior managers of business and health schools. BMAF & HSAP Subject Centres 1

4 Main Findings 1. The analysis of the HESA data raised more questions than it answered, giving grounds for concern about the overall validity and reliability of this data set. There were grounds for believing that the total number of PTTs were under-reported in the data, and the categories used to refer to part-time staff in the return ( open-ended-permanent and fixed-term ) contributed to a confused picture. Counter to expectations, the proportion of PTTs employed in BMAF and HS&P did not appear to be larger than for the whole of HE. Overall, there were more female PTTs employed on fractional ( open-ended permanent ) contracts in HS&P than in the BMAF disciplines, and a greater proportion of male PTTs in both were to be found in the older age groups. 2. The case studies revealed the tremendous variety of work profiles to be found among PTTs. The fractionals ( open-ended permanent ) were most likely to be drawn from retirees, or those on a career break or downshifting for personal reasons, whereas the sessionals or visiting lecturers ( fixed term ) were more likely to fall into one of four categories: portfolio workers lecturing on a part-time basis at more than one HEI; professional consultants or experts in a health practice specialism; those in business disciplines who engaged in lecturing as part of their continuing professional development (CPD); or research fellows seeking a full-time lecturing position. Overall they contributed anything between 5% and 25% of the teaching workload. 3. Although PTTs were mainly deployed to teach (chiefly on undergraduate programmes), many did get involved in a range of other duties including dissertation supervision, curriculum development, student support, postgraduate teaching, and even consultancy assignments and PhD supervision. However, fractionals were more likely to be drawn into these additional activities. 4. Business and health school strategies toward the employment of PTTs are often ambivalent. All business schools had explicit policies toward the employment of PTTs, which ranged from an official policy to employ only full-time academic staff to an unwritten but explicit acceptance that employing PTTs enabled a reduction in costs and risks, and made time for full-time staff to engage in research and consultancy and, in some cases, for curriculum enhancement. Fewer of the health schools had explicit policies towards the employment of PTTs, mainly because this had already been addressed as part of the contract agreed between the HEI and the NHS. Despite some difficulties in attracting staff to work on a PTT basis, all senior managers in health schools accepted that PTTs were an important part of the education provision in their school. 5. The operational managers were much less ambivalent. They had a much more pragmatic view about employing PTTs who were seen as indispensable to running a complex educational and practice-relevant operation. A useful summary of the advantages and disadvantages of using PTTs is found in the following table: BMAF & HSAP Subject Centres 2

5 Advantages Availability of expertise in niche knowledge Cover for sabbaticals Flexibility Ability to bring in expertise without committing to a full-time post the only way to get the sexy subjects taught Freeing up staff to undertake consultancy, scholarship, and research Giving fractional and visiting lecturer staff time to achieve work-life balance Adding value to the student learning experience Disadvantages Lack of integration, and difficulties providing people with the support when they most need it Reliability Changing employment rights agenda Not being available when the student needs you Potential lack of interaction with the faculty Not ensuring that they (PTTs) are part of a team and share ownership of problems Full-time academics might not take advantage of the freed-up time to do research etc. PTTs may fail to keep up with personal research Advantages and disadvantages of using fractional and sessional lecturers 6. The support made available to PTTs was quite variable. The main staff management practices were designed primarily for permanent full-time employees, and PTTs often encountered problems in respect of access to: formal recruitment and selection, induction, mentoring, formal courses, decent offices, and facilities (such as swipe cards/keys, photocopying, library, car-parking, support for using the VLE etc). Above all, they were often not fully integrated into the academic community. The academic environment within which they operated was more impoverished than that of full-time members of staff, and put obstacles in the way of achieving higher quality informal contextual learning opportunities. 7. Turning to the PTTs themselves, it was quite clear that there was a gap between the support they perceived to be available, and what they actually required. In particular, there was little enthusiasm for embarking upon a postgraduate certificate in learning and teaching. Instead they wanted practical support that would enable them to hit the ground running in terms of basic classroom management and assessment skills very practical and immediate needs. They also wanted recognition of their prior professional experience and expertise in supporting learning. 8. In addition to meeting their needs for learning, the overwhelming concerns were to be respected and integrated as a member of the team, and to have someone on the permanent staff whom they could regard as the key source of support and champion of their needs. BMAF & HSAP Subject Centres 3

6 9. Returning to their employment profiles, it became clear that many PTTs also had very diverse career experiences and aspirations. These could be categorised into a number of types: aspiring full-time lecturers work-life balancers late career down-shifters and the semi-retired late career self-actualisers portfolio workers 10. Following on from their career orientations, it was clear that PTTs exhibited a range of orientation to their work, including: teach and leave uncritical and practical classroom enthusiasts seekers of excellence Conclusion This project has shown that, despite evidence that PTTs perform a significant role in their institutional academic labour markets, they are largely invisible with respect to national employment statistics. PTTs are also a very diverse group it is simply not possible to generalise about their employment profile, career orientation or work motivation. Despite heavy dependence on their contribution, business schools, and to a lesser extent health schools, do not treat PTTs as favourably as full-time employees with respect to employment policy and practice. Most senior managers were ambivalent about employing PTTs, despite much evidence that they were crucial to the achievement of a flexible response to short term contingencies. In consequence there are missed opportunities for managers who do not always use their PTTs to best advantage, and also frustration for PTTs themselves. It is therefore not surprising that, with a few notable exceptions, many of the case studies echoed earlier research on the experience of PTTs in HE in terms of the isolation, lack of confidence, lack of clarity about their role, problems with educational management and administration, lack of resources, and the feeling of being an outsider, that they encountered. Recommendations These focus upon several levels and include proposed actions to: 1. Clarify the requirements for PTTs within the individual school context. 2. Develop a systematic school-wide approach to managing and supporting PTTs. 3. Develop a comprehensive and flexible school-wide approach to supporting the learning of PTTs. 4. Establish a strategy and policy framework for supporting PTTs across the whole HEI. 5. Implement practical measures of support for PTTs (see Figure 3). Integration: Locate close to colleagues with whom they work; include in relevant lists; invite to relevant meetings and social events. Space: Own desk, telephone number and PC; access to privacy for meetings. Induction: Early induction on need to know essentials (use of VLE; library card; access to photocopier, buildings out of hours, administrative support); induction handbook (printed and online); Help desk for out of normal hours advice; assigned a buddy. Informal learning and networking: Assigning of a trained mentor to review progress; ensure an early developmental review. BMAF & HSAP Subject Centres 4

7 1 Background Information This project was funded by the Higher Education Academy and addresses the Academy s initiative around support for initial and continuing professional development for all UK staff involved in learning and teaching in higher education. It specifically focuses upon support for part-time teachers (PTTs) in higher education (HE). Some research on part-time employment within HE has already been published (see 1.2) but it is recognised that in the disciplines covered by the two Academy Subject Centres sponsoring this project (Business, Management, Accountancy & Finance, and Health Sciences and Practice embracing nearly 30% of all undergraduate students studying higher education in the UK) significant proportions of staff are employed on part-time/variable hours contracts and therefore further research in these areas was needed. While this is a common feature of the delivery of learning and teaching in other parts of HE (e.g. the performing arts, and areas of professional practice such as law, social work and education) such staff form a substantial proportion of the academic labour market in the general fields of business, management and health care. The focus of this project was on PTTs who are mid-career professionals, and experienced managers, consultants or clinical experts - a group considered as essential to effective learning and teaching in both subject areas. It excluded consideration of early career graduate teaching assistants and doctoral students who might also engage in teaching. Keywords: higher education; part-time; lecturer; teacher; educational development; midcareer professional; business school; health school; academic labour market 1.1 Purpose of the Study The primary aim of the study was quality enhancement through identifying the development needs of PTTs, evaluating how these relate to the support provided for them, and finally identifying a range of interventions to support this group. This was therefore primarily a development project, but one that both sponsoring Subject Centres wished to be evidence informed, which raised two issues. The first concerned the definition of the population of PTTs, as there appeared to be many different job titles signifying a range of role expectations and contractual bases of employment. The second issue was related to the extent of employment of this group within higher educational institutions (HEI), which was also unclear. This led to a number of objectives for the project: 1. To identify, from existing data sources, especially those collected through HEI returns to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the population characteristics of PTTs across two subject areas: Business Management Accountancy and Finance (BMAF), and Health Sciences and Practice (HS&P). 2. To evaluate the nature of the development support offered to the target PTTs in a purposive sample of HE providers in the subject disciplines covered by the BMAF and HS&P Subject Centres. 3. To evaluate, by means of individual interviews, the learning needs of purposive samples of such staff in terms of their career, life-stages and plans, their preferred learning styles and personal learning strategies. Also the research would consider the policies, strategies and attitudes of their operational and senior managers. 4. To identify a number of interventions designed to improve the access of such staff to appropriate learning support, with a view to these being piloted within a range of HE providers. BMAF & HSAP Subject Centres 5

8 1.2 Review of Relevant Literature Two bodies of literature were consulted: a review of the academic and grey literature analysing the place of PTTs within the HE labour market was conducted; then the research debates around informal and practice-based learning were reviewed. Analysis of the Higher Education Labour Market Despite the collection of national statistics over a number of decades on the employment of staff within UK HE, the statistical agencies did not seek information on staff working for less than 25% of a full-time equivalent contract until 2004 (Bryson et al., 2007). Therefore this raised an immediate concern about the reliability of the HE labour market data as a foundation for the current project, especially with respect to accurate recording of the total number of PTTs. Furthermore, a number of discrepancies had been identified between the HESA returns for certain institutions, and other data sources for these HEIs (Bryson, 2004). The exclusion of those members of staff who might be involved in teaching, but who were counted under different categories (for example, as contract researchers, postgraduate students or those who employed on a non-teaching contract), meant that the official statistics provided by HESA probably understated to a considerable degree the total numbers of PTTs employed in UK HE. However, it is certainly clear that numbers of PTTs are increasing in the UK academic workforce. Year Full-time Part-time Total 2003/4 75,865 35, , /5 78,275 44, , /6 78,960 46, ,586 Table 1: Summary of all teaching staff in UK HE by mode of employment Source: HESA, Available at The relatively rapid increase in the numbers of PTTs after 2003/4 is probably attributable to the new approach to recording HE labour market data brought about in This was largely in response to changes in employment law with respect to the rights of those employed on non-standard contracts, including those employed on a fixed term or part-time basis. Yet these new requirements for collecting and recording the data brought additional complications of reliability and validity when conducting research into PTTs. The categories of full-time and part-time employment were each further subdivided in the HEI data between those on open-ended or permanent contracts and those on fixed term contracts, which meant that part-time staff could be entered under either category. In addition, the guidance provided to HEIs for completion of the HESA data returns meant that many permanent part-time staff on fractional contracts might be included within the full-time equivalent FTE, and those employed on a more casual sessional basis, might be included as non-permanent full-time FTE. Notwithstanding the changes in 2004, it was argued (Bryson, 2004) that the HESA data were still likely to be under-reporting the numbers of PTTs in respect of those employed on both fractional and sessional contracts (see Glossary for definitions). Bryson established that their total numbers in 2004 were actually around 75,000, or just less than the total of all staff reported to be employed on full-time or fractional contracts. The result is that following Bryson et al. (2007), the HESA data must be treated with some caution as: 1. There appears to be a major under-representation of PTT numbers, and 2. Categorisation of PTTs varies between institutional returns. In some HEIs, they appear to be designated as permanent, and in others as fixed term. BMAF & HSAP Subject Centres 6

9 As the current project focuses upon PTTs employed within the discipline areas covered by the Subject Centres for BMAF and HS&P, it is important to note that there are additional features of the population of PTTs in these fields that mark them out as different from those in other disciplines. The first point of difference relates to the characteristics of the curriculum studied, as there is a strong professional focus in most programmes of study in these two areas, with students usually seeking the qualifications to allow them to enter professional practice (or indeed to further develop their professional careers). This calls for the deployment of experienced professionals to teach aspects of both general practice and specialist topics, and means that the bulk of PTTs are recruited from this group as opposed to from graduate teaching assistants and contract researchers. The second point relates to the balance between teaching, and research and development within these two broad fields. So in contrast to biological sciences, for example, in the disciplines covered by the BMAF and HS&P Subject Centres, research constitutes a smaller proportion of the overall academic workload, and therefore there is a rather small labour supply of postgraduate students and contract researchers who can be drawn upon to assist with teaching. The third point follows on from this and relates to the type of institution. Earlier research findings on individual HEIs (Bryson and Barnes, 2000; Powney et al., 2001), showed that a high proportion of undergraduate teaching is often done by postgraduate students in research elite universities. However, the opposite was the case in post 92 institutions where 20% of teaching was undertaken by hourly paid sessional lecturers, and there was considerable divergence between discipline areas. Together these factors contribute to the distinctive nature of the two discipline areas investigated in this project. Debates around Informal and Practice-Based Learning Since 2006, the Academy has introduced a system of recognition of HEI schemes to ensure that the provision of initial professional development for all staff engaged in learning and teaching meets a set of national standards. This has usually taken the form of approval of individual HEI programmes, typically a postgraduate certificate in learning and teaching, and for those individuals who complete such programmes the award of recognition as Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. While many HEIs make such formal provision available to PTTs, as well as those new entrants to full-time positions, the emphasis has continued to be on participation in formal programmes of study. This also has implications for meeting the needs of PTTs but, to date, current arrangements for support do not appear to embody the latest thinking around adult and professional learning. Yet for some time now, the literature on adult and professional learning has placed more emphasis upon the power of informal learning as a means by which professionals learn from practice on an everyday basis (Marsick and Watkins, 1990; Eraut, 2000; Billett, 2001). A recent overview of different discourses around non-formal and informal learning (Colley, et al., 2002) concluded by questioning the validity of the polarisation of formal and informal learning, arguing that: and that: formal and informal dimensions are always, or almost always, present in any learning situation, no matter how small (p. 41) learning is predominantly determined by the complex social practices in any learning setting thus the most significant issue is not the boundaries between BMAF & HSAP Subject Centres 7

10 these types of learning [formal and informal], but the inter-relationships between dimensions of formality/informality in particular situations. (p. 41) These ideas were recently applied to a case study of CPD in the legal profession (Gold et al., 2007) which highlighted ways in which professionals in a law firm frequently learned from key moments in their practice learning which could be described as on-the-run and highly contextualised. Learning was also shared, and became part of the collective knowledge and understanding within the case study organisation. A different perspective is to view learning as a process of social interaction rather than an individual mental process. The oft quoted (but also oft misrepresented) work of Lave and Wenger (1991) on situated learning through communities of practice has directed attention away from the individual learner, to the interactions within the social groups and settings in which learning takes place. The Learning of Part-time Teachers in Higher Education Over recent years there has been much research on the learning by professional practitioners in terms of their engagement with a wide range of post-experience professional development activity (for a summary see Woodall and Gourlay, 2004). However, the learning of PTTs in HE, has received little attention and it is frequently assumed that PTTs are almost exclusively drawn from graduate teaching assistants, and therefore should to be viewed as novices, making the transition from research to teaching. However, as already mentioned, for many areas of HE such as the health service, law, social services, art and design, and business management education, most PTTs are experienced mid-career middle and senior level professionals. Only recently has some research taken place on this (Anderson, 2007; Knight et al., 2007; Shreeve, 2006), leading to the conclusion that the ways in which such professionals are, and ought to be, prepared for their role in supporting student learning in HE: should be considered from a fresh perspective which differs from requiring their attendance at formally provided courses and events. While these approaches have their place, modern research on professional learning is increasingly pointing to the view that professional formation is an ecological process that is insufficiently served by the formal provision of learning opportunities. (Knight et al., 2007, p. 420) The research to which this extract refers was based upon a qualitative study involving a small sample of PTTs teaching for the Open University. Although no research subjects were drawn from the field of business and management, and only a few from the field of nursing, the research identified two thematic clusters that influenced how learning took place: 1. The academic environment (formal relationships, mentoring and informal interactions, but also financial and physical resources). 2. Individual histories and identities (experience as students, positive and negative role models, intrinsic motivation). These factors were also important in influencing whether PTTs were able to adopt improvements and innovations in teaching methods. However, the factors that impeded this were: isolation, lack of confidence, lack of clarity, problems with management and administration, lack of resources, and, above all, the feeling of being an outsider. Implications for This Project The analysis of available employment data, and this brief summary of current thinking around the learning of professional practitioners, led to the conclusion that this project would need to adopt a design that could address: BMAF & HSAP Subject Centres 8

11 1. Closer scrutiny of the HESA data to identify trends in the employment of PTTs within the broad fields of business, management, accountancy and finance and health sciences and practice. 2. The apparent inclination of PTTs not to seek out formal education opportunities designed for novice entrants to the practice of supporting the student learning experience within HE. 3. The individual career histories, motivations and identities of PTTs. These were likely to be a very important factor in determining how they learn to support the student learning experience. 4. The academic environment in which PTTs work, and the situated and social context of learning. A study that focused mainly upon individual experiences and preferences in informal learning might be limited as it would be divorced from those aspects. 5. Consideration of the organisational context of work including the division of labour, rules and mediating artefacts of the activity system within which the PTTs operate, to enrich our understanding of why or why not learning occurs in different ways. It was also important to examine the formal working relationships, and access to financial and physical resources experienced by PTTs. 2 The Project Design There were two strands to the project design. The first involved secondary analysis of the employment data collected by HESA. Specialist data were acquired for 2005/6 (the first years that PTTs appeared as a separate category in the statistics). The main findings were reported in relation to numbers of staff by mode and terms of employment, average size (in terms of Full Person Equivalent or FPE) of part-time contracts, grading, gender, age, nationality, previous employment, length of service, and type of HEI. The second strand was drawn from interviews conducted in case studies of Business or Management Schools and parallel case studies of Schools of Health Care in each institution. The intention was to obtain matched cases in a sample of six institutions. The case studies were based upon the schools, aiming to ascertain the wider contextual nature of the learning and development of PTTs, and to identify any institutional effects operating at the level of the HEI. This determined both the data collection strategy and the sampling frame. The data were collected by means of key informant interviews with a purposive sample of respondents stratified into three groups: senior managers responsible for overall strategic direction of their school (and where possible, the overall learning and teaching strategy of the HEI); operational managers with primary responsibility for delivering the educational experience within the school; PTTs employed within the school. Typically, in each HEI, the groups would be drawn from: the Dean or Associate Deans, HEI Head of Learning & Teaching or Director of the Educational Development Unit (up to 3 individuals) Heads of Department, Programme Directors (up to 3 individuals) approximately 6 teaching staff employed on variable hours/part-time contracts who might be considered as mid-career professionals and/or experienced managers or consultants Semi-structured interview schedules were designed for use with each group. For the senior staff, the main questions addressed the School strategy and policies for staffing, workload planning, recruitment, induction and deployment. The questions for the operational managers focused more on identifying the specific responsibilities undertaken by PTTs, and the facilities, support and measures taken to manage performance, and to involve and communicate with them. Finally the interviews with the PTTs were designed to find out about BMAF & HSAP Subject Centres 9

12 the place of their current work within their career and life stage; their motivation to develop their learning and teaching skills; their experience of formal support, how they addressed their development as teachers, and their preferences in terms of support. Care was taken with the sampling of case study institutions, the main concern being to achieve a spread across types of institution and from across the UK, aiming to draw upon HEIs from the various groups to which they affiliate according to their respective missions such as the Russell Group; 1994 Group; University Alliance; Coalition of Modern Universities, now Million+; non-aligned (for definitions see glossary). The original intention was to ensure that, as far as possible, cases for both subjects areas were drawn from within the same HEI. The Project Co-Directors were assisted by a Project Manager who provided co-ordination on behalf of both Subject Centres, and by a Project Advisory Group of UK experts on research into PTTs. They met at different stages of the project in order to refine the research design, oversee its implementation, review the findings, and to plan the dissemination activity. In addition, following a call for expressions of interest, six Project Associates were recruited to the project team. They were drawn from the relevant academic disciplinary communities (three each from Business, Management, Accountancy & Finance and from Health Sciences & Practice), and were selected because of their experience, and familiarity with the employment practices and cultures in their specific field of HE, as well as their expertise in qualitative data collection and analysis. The members of the full Project Team are listed in Appendix 1. The Project Associates assisted with the refinement of data collection instruments for the case studies, collected and analysed the interview data, and prepared draft case studies. Two of the Project Associates assisted with cross-case analysis between the two subject areas within HEIs. A further two Project Associates completed secondary analysis of HESA data, and the fieldwork was carried out between May and December Access to the case study institutions was achieved by a formal approach to Deans or Heads of School by the two Co-Directors. Following their consent to participate, the Deans, in turn, then provided introductions to members of their senior staff who had both a strategic and operational role with respect to teaching within their schools and, where possible, to senior colleagues with overall responsibility for learning and teaching at institutional level. Finally, contact was made with PTTs either via forwarding an containing information about the project and an invitation to participate, or via providing contact details for the Project Associates (PAs). The purpose of the project was explained to all interviewees, by means of a project information sheet (see Appendix 2). It was made clear at the outset that participation was voluntary: interview participants were able to withdraw at any stage without providing reasons. A written guarantee was provided that names of institutions and interview participants would not appear in any written report, publication or other public communication, confidentiality of all information would be maintained and reference to any institution would be anonymous. Each of the PAs made contact with two schools within their discipline area. They obtained a range of information about PTT numbers and resources, and conducted and recorded up to 12 interviews with participants at the three levels. The project team and PAs met and agreed a methodology to analyse the findings, with specific assistance from one of the project team who is an expert in qualitative data analysis. Each PA prepared short draft case study analyses, including illustrative quotations from interview participants, which were circulated throughout the group for review. Following discussion at meetings of the project team the final case studies for each school were prepared. All PAs then collaborated in preparing cross-case analysis of the three matched pairs and two PAs undertook cross-case analysis of the five schools within their discipline group. BMAF & HSAP Subject Centres 10

13 Finally, two members of the project team and the Project Manager collaborated in preparing the last draft of this report which was then circulated to the full project team for comment. 3 Main Findings 3.1 HESA Data Analysis The project team approached HESA for access to data with respect to employment in the JACS codes (joint academic coding system) covered by the BMAF and HS&P Subject Centres. These were subject to detailed analysis reported in a working paper by Bryson et al. (2007) for this report. Appendix 2 of that report details the special data set (and the fields) commissioned from HESA and how these data were acquired by HESA. The data were provided as an Excel table in a cleaned and anonymised form. For the analysis, the subjects covered by BMAF are equated to the cost centre of Business and Management Studies (referred to as Business ) and the subjects covered by HS&P to the four cost centres (aggregated for this purpose) of Nursing and Paramedical Studies, Health and Community Studies, Pharmacy and Pharmacology, and Anatomy and Physiology (referred to as Health ). It is important to note that Clinical Medicine, Clinical Dentistry, and Psychology and Behavioural Science were excluded, and that the cost centres do not map easily onto academic structures in all universities which can lead to further problems in accurate enumeration. Finally, it is important to note that the Open University accounts for 20% of those designated as part-time/fixed term in Health and 10% in Business. This is commented on where there is a possible effect upon the findings. HESA Staff Record Mode of employment 2005/06 FPE (Full Person Equivalent Full-time Part-time Table 3: Numbers of staff by mode and terms of employment. Source: Bryson et al., 2007 Openended/ permanent Fixedterm contract Openended/ permanent Fixedterm contract Table 3 presents the findings on academic staff by mode and terms of employment. One main finding of the data analysis was that there appeared to be serious deficiencies in respect to the reliability and validity of the HESA data (Bryson et al., 2007). Although HESA has responded since 2004 to the imperative to include teaching staff on part-time and other non-standard forms of employment contract, the definition of the categories and the guidance provided to HEIs on recording their data do not give grounds for complete confidence in the published HESA data. Within the constraints of the reliability and validity of the data it is, however, possible to make a number of observations. The first is that counter-intuitively the proportion of staff on PTT contracts (both permanent and hourly paid ) within the Business and Health fields appears to be slightly lower than for other areas of HE (Table 4). This is surprising given the highly practice-focused curriculum in these two fields, which would suggest it may reflect the need to bring in professional practitioners on a part-time basis. When considered in relation to the findings from the case studies (see below) this again raises questions about the overall reliability of the HESA data. Grand Total Subject Total Total Health Schools 9, ,150 2,595 2,590 5,185 15,330 Business Schools 6, ,100 1,630 1,870 3,500 10,590 All other cost centres 54,845 6,870 61,715 15,775 22,180 37,955 99,670 Total 70,690 8,270 78,960 20,000 26,630 46, ,590 BMAF & HSAP Subject Centres 11

14 HESA Staff Mode of employment Record 2005/06 - FPE Full-time Part-time Total Subject Open-ended/ Permanent Total Total Health Schools 61% 5% 66% 17% 17% 34% 100% Business Schools 61% 6% 67% 15% 18% 33% 100% All other cost centres 55% 7% 62% 16% 22% 38% 100% Total 56% 7% 63% 16% 21% 37% 100% Table 4: Proportion of staff in each combination of mode and terms of employment Source: Bryson et al., 2007 There is a slightly lower proportion of PTTs in the subjects under scrutiny than in other disciplines, with a corresponding higher proportion of tenured full-time staff. It also appears that slightly greater use is made of PTTs on fractional (permanent) contracts in the field of Health than in Business where slightly more staff are employed on hourly paid contracts. Table 5 indicates that the characteristics of part-time posts appear to be different in Health than in both Business and other subjects. Permanent contracts are a rather larger fractional average. This in part could be accounted for by the unique post of Lecturer-Practitioner (see Glossary) sometimes held as a joint appointment in Health. Other subjects rarely have such joint posts. Average fraction of FTE per part-time post Open-ended/permanent Fixed-term contract Health Schools Business Schools All other cost centres Total Table 5: Average size (in full-time equivalent) of part-time contracts Source: Bryson et al., 2007 Table 6 shows that Health Schools (which include professional nursing and paramedical disciplines in HE) have high proportions of female staff and this is reflected in both full-time and part-time employment categories. The reverse is true for Business subjects. In other HESA cost centres (subject areas) the proportions for full-time staff are similar to Business, but for part-time staff the proportion of females is greater. Fixedterm contract Openended/ Permanent Fixedterm contract Health Schools Business Schools All Other Cost Centres Non- Non- Non- Gender PTT PTT PTT PTT PTT PTT Female 66% 66% 34% 38% 39% 47% Male 34% 34% 66% 62% 61% 53% Table 6: Gender and subject Source: Bryson et al., 2007 Other studies (Goode, 2000) have shown considerable vertical segregation in HE i.e. the proportion of men is correlated with increasing job security and grade. Men tend to be much less likely, both in HE and elsewhere, to be in part-time employment than women. With BMAF & HSAP Subject Centres 12

15 respect to age, as shown in Table 7, more PTTs in both Health and Business fall into the age group than for all other PTTs in Higher Education. Health Schools Business Schools All other cost centres Non- Non- Non- Age group PTT PTT PTT PTT PTT PTT 25 or under 0% 3% 1% 4% 1% 9% % 14% 13% 19% 16% 25% % 32% 28% 24% 32% 23% % 29% 36% 24% 31% 20% % 19% 22% 25% 19% 19% 66 years and over 0% 3% 0% 5% 1% 5% Table 7: Age and subject Source: Bryson et al., 2007 Table 8 combines both age and gender. In the overall UK workforce where women dominate part-time work, there are distinctly different age profiles for men and women. Men tend only to work part-time at the beginning and end of their working lives whereas, reflecting their caring responsibilities in society, women may undertake part-time work at all points in their career and working life. In HE, given that working part-time is not conducive to gaining promotion, both women and men are rather less likely to work part-time than in other occupations. However, Business subjects do indicate rather different profiles than other subjects in the age/gender profile (see Table 8). Some 39% of male PTTs are over 56 years old compared with only 15% of female PTTs. Some 60% of female PTT are under 46 compared with 37% of men. In all subjects the categories of staff over the age of 56 is male dominated. PTTs in these age categories are frequently semi-retired staff and the men seem to be more likely to take up PTT roles at this stage. Health Schools Business Schools All other cost centres Age group Gender non-ptt PTT non-ptt PTT non-ptt PTT 25 or under Female 0% 3% 1% 4% 2% 8% Male 1% 4% 1% 3% 1% 9% Female 11% 14% 18% 23% 20% 27% Male 9% 13% 10% 16% 14% 23% Female 34% 33% 34% 33% 34% 26% Male 31% 29% 25% 18% 31% 20% Female 42% 31% 35% 25% 30% 21% Male 41% 26% 36% 23% 31% 18% Female 12% 17% 11% 14% 14% 15% Male 19% 22% 27% 32% 23% 23% 66 years & over Female 0% 2% 0% 1% 0% 2% Male 0% 5% 0% 7% 1% 7% Table 8: Age and gender by subject Source: Bryson et al., 2007 While the project analysed other socio-demographic dimensions such as ethnicity, nationality, previous employment, and labour turnover, the quality of the institutional data returns made it impossible to provide any meaningful findings. Similarly, great care needs to be taken in interpreting institution level data because of the differences in approach to data BMAF & HSAP Subject Centres 13

16 submission by the data providers in the individual HEIs. Some may not include any genuine PTT data. Finally, the data were analysed by institutional grouping: Russell Group; 1994 Group; University Alliance; Million+; non-aligned (see Table 9). The Open University is a member of the University Alliance but has been removed from the UA figures in the table because the very large number of part-time staff employed by the Open University would distort the totals. The small proportion of PTTs in the research intensive Russell Group adds support that their usage of postgraduate teaching assistants and junior researchers (of which they have a very major proportion of the UK complement of such staff). However, this is belied by the relatively high proportion of PTTs in the fairly research intensive 1994 Group, rather higher than the teaching intensive Million+ universities. Therefore there is suspicion that the variation in these proportions is mainly derived from the approach to reporting PTT data to HESA at institutional level. Institution group Subject Non PTT PTT N Russell group Health 93% 7% 2,470 Business 92% 8% 1,525 All other cost centres 87% 13% 27, group Health 78% 22% 690 Business 74% 26% 875 All other cost centres 73% 27% 14,290 University Alliance Health 78% 22% 3,530 Business 79% 21% 2,525 All other cost centres 73% 27% 16,005 Million+ Universities Health 88% 12% 4,415 Business 85% 15% 3,015 All other cost centres 81% 19% 17,385 All other institutions Health 84% 16% 3,290 Business 79% 21% 1,950 All other cost centres 73% 27% 18,845 Total 79% 21% 125,585 Table 9: Breakdown of staff by institutional grouping (see glossary for definitions) Source: Bryson et al., 2007 Implications The difficulty of obtaining a clear picture of the exact extent of employment of PTTs from the HESA data has a number of implications. Firstly, it makes it difficult to establish the patterns of employment of teaching staff, both across the sector and within different disciplines and institutions. Secondly, the categories of open-ended permanent and fixed-term part-time further cloud the analysis. Therefore, although HESA has responded to the imperative to include all teaching staff on part-time and other flexible forms of employment contract, the way that the categories are defined, and the approaches to data collection, makes meaningful analysis difficult. This in turn means that it might be difficult to identify the total population of academic staff required to undertake initial and continuing professional development to support the student learning experience, and also to establish reliable indicators of the effectiveness of provision. From the perspective of quality enhancement, this must be of concern to HEIs and public policy makers. It also makes general workforce development and specifically equal opportunity monitoring very difficult. Above all, as the allocation of resources to HEIs to implement various policy initiatives is dependent upon data supplied by HESA, there are more general implications. BMAF & HSAP Subject Centres 14

17 3.2 The Case Studies Ten case studies (five for each Subject Centre) were completed and a total of 117 interviews were carried out. Of these, 60 were for the Business, Management, Accountancy and Finance Subject Centre (referred to as Business School ) and 57 for the Health School Sciences and Practice Subject Centre (referred to as Health School ). Of the 117 interviews, 27 took place with senior staff in Schools and Faculties, 30 with operational managers (Heads of Department and Programme Leaders) and 60 with PTTs themselves. Health Business HEI Senior Programme PTTs Senior Programme PTTs Totals A B C D E F G Totals Table 10: Summary of interviews by HEI, school and staff group Problems of access to research intensive universities delayed the progress of the project and meant that it was not possible to achieve the total of 12 case studies originally intended. In turn, this affected the plan to conduct matched pairs of cases from both subject areas within individual HEIs, and this only proved possible with respect to three institutions (A, B and C above). For Business Schools, four of the case studies were conducted in post 92 HEIs and one in an HEI founded half a century ago; none was from the Russell Group or the 94 Group; two were from the University Alliance; two were from the Million+ group; one was nonaligned. All described themselves as mainly teaching institutions, which were researchinformed. Yet within this description there was a wide divergence of portfolios of activity. The sample of institutions for the Health School case studies was slightly different: one of the case study schools was part of a Russell Group and an ancient university; one was from a University Alliance HEI; two of the Universities were members of the Million+ group; one was non-aligned. The case studies for Business and Health disciplines are reported together here. As indicated in the analysis of HESA data, there are differences in context relating to the employment of PTTs between Business and Health discipline areas. In general, Schools within the Health disciplines tend to employ proportionately more part-time academics on fractional contracts than is the case in the Business disciplines. Nonetheless, the data indicate more similarities than differences between the experience within Business Schools and Health Schools related to the PTT employment and support issues. To enable an appropriate level of anonymity for participating HEIs, the schools and departments within the BMAF Subject Centre remit are all referred to here as Business Schools and those within the HS&P discipline areas (where terminology varies) are referred to here as Health Schools. BMAF & HSAP Subject Centres 15

18 3.2.1 Part Time Teachers (PTT): Definition and Use Who are the PTTs? It is important to stress that the main focus of this project was on mid-career PTTs, and not graduate teaching assistants and contract researchers engaging in some part-time teaching. In general the PTTs employed in Business and Health Schools tended to segment into two categories in terms of employment contract (fractional and sessional). However, the nomenclature used within the HEIs varied (sessional, visiting, occasional, associate, parttime, fractional, hourly-paid, etc.). In addition, Health Schools include a Lecturer-Practitioner role within the remit of their PTT population where individuals are employed on a 0.5 basis by the HEI and a 0.5 basis by an NHS Trust, and the salary costs are shared by both employers. It was interesting to note how the profile of PTTs varied and the considerable diversity in routes to employment that is evident within and across the two discipline areas. In many cases recruitment to part-time work was: through a variety of routes, either by the PTT approaching the University or being recommended by a current member of staff (Health School A). In four Business School cases (A, B, D, F), those employed on fractional contracts tended to be former employees or those known within professional networks - known faces (Business School A) - including a good number who had retired from a fulltime permanent academic role. Similarly those operating as Lecturer-Practitioners in Health schools (e.g. Health School A, B, D) were usually approached in the first instance by the NHS line managers once a Lecturer-Practitioner vacancy had been identified with the relevant HEI. The samples in both the Health and Business Schools also contained some who had moved to fractional contracts for other personal reasons, including career breaks for child care or a desire for a better work-life balance. In Business School Case Study F an operational manager reported: one of the PTTs was full-time and then moved down some were fulltime and downgraded for family or personal reasons. In Health School case study B, despite management pressure to become full time, a part-time staff member refused to return to full time working because of family commitments. In Business School C the policy had changed to put all PTTs on fractional contracts. This Business School has clear guidelines about who is eligible for fractional contracts on the common pay spine established following the National Framework Agreement between employers and trade unions: they must have worked at the HEI for over 2 years and over a stipulated number of hours. This policy did not seem to apply to the Health School at the same institution where a mixture of fractional and sessional/visiting lecturer (see glossary for definitions) contracts was maintained in order to cope with different workload circumstances. The sessional lecturers were more likely to fall into four categories: portfolio workers lecturing on a part-time basis at more than one HEI; professional consultants/experts in a health practice specialism; those in business disciplines who engaged in lecturing as part of their CPD; research fellows seeking a full-time post. While one Business School appointed PTTs mainly from practising business professionals (Business School G), at the other extreme, in Business Schools F and B, Further Education lecturers who had expertise in a subject were recruited as sessionals, while within some Health Schools (e.g. Health School E) there were sessionals who were recruited after having been unsuccessful in their application for a fulltime post. The Extent of the Use of PTTs Despite implementation of the National Framework Agreement, which provides a common national framework for pay arrangements to ensure equal pay for work of equal value, most HEIs were using sessionals, commonly for anywhere between 5-25% of the teaching BMAF & HSAP Subject Centres 16

19 workload. In line with the overall HESA statistical analysis, Health Schools reported a lower proportion of total workload being undertaken by sessional PTTs than Business Schools. For example, 6,412 teaching hours out of 55,000 at Business School B were undertaken by PTTs (12%), while the proportion of workload undertaken at Health School B by PTTs was around 5%. At Business School C it was estimated that PTTs delivered 22% of all teaching but up to 28% in accounting and finance to cover difficult to fill teaching slots. At Business School F, it was estimated that 19% of staff were PTTs but they delivered 20-25% of teaching hours whereas in Health School D the figure for PTTs was estimated to be less than 10%. How are PTTs Deployed? Teaching appeared to be the main role undertaken by PTTs but with some restrictions. Usually this involved teaching and assessing seminars, tutorial groups and workshops on a course led by a full-time module leader, who designed the programme and learning materials, and set the assessments and examination papers. Those employed as Lecturer- Practitioners in the Health Schools were expected to undertake less academic administration than their colleagues. As a matter of institutional policy in some institutions, for example Health Schools C and D, those PTTs on fractional contracts were precluded from undertaking module leadership and other tasks such as supporting collaborative provision, executive development and corporate consultancy (see glossary for definitions), although the extent to which this policy was adhered to at local level was not clear. In Health School B, University policy stated that no PTT could act as a programme or module leader as they do not work sufficient hours. However, in principle, if they re part time, they do everything that a full-timer does proportionally less (Dean, Health School B). In some HEIs, PTT work would be confined to undergraduate programmes such as in Business Schools B and F, with a large proportion of first and second year undergraduate work undertaken by PTTs, only final year and postgraduate students being taught almost exclusively by full-time staff: We try to keep the hourly paid staff on undergraduate work, especially if they are new. The only one who teaches postgraduates was formerly a full-time teacher elsewhere. (Manager, Business School F). At Business School C, where the majority of PTT staff had been moved to fractional contracts, they also provided dissertation supervision, and in addition were assigned some administrative responsibility and made an input to curriculum design. A Head of Department remarked: We re trying to get away from a culture that the job is teaching only. There is an expectation of research for a doctorate and consultancy.if part-timers have the same employment rights we should expect the same performance. In the Health Schools most PTT duties do not include research but in Health School A one is involved in research and preparing bids for external research grants. However, extending PTT duties beyond basic teaching could cause difficulties: some of the permanent staff feel resentful about this, but from my point of view, she showed an interest and I know she is capable of carrying out this work (Programme Leader, Health School A). At Business School A, PTTs also had responsibility for student support, but not for personal tutees. However, at the other extreme, for Business School G it was seen as essential that PTTs were employed to teach highly specialised subjects at postgraduate level where practice was considered to be leading academic development. BMAF & HSAP Subject Centres 17

20 Across the sample as a whole there was considerable variation in the extent to which other duties such as attendance at examination and course development meetings, dissertation supervision, personal tutoring, module development and corporate consulting were seen as appropriate for PTTs. If anything, it was those on fractional contracts who got involved in such work. At two HEIs in both Business and Health Schools (Case Studies A and F), their work extended to cover areas such as teaching courses overseas, supervision of PhD theses, as well as module development, grant capture and the development of clinical areas outside the usual clinical patch. However, as most of those involved in such work were on fractional contracts and their level of expertise had been known to their respective School over a period of time these instances can be considered as less surprising School Strategies Towards PTTs Although there were areas of similarity there were also differences in strategy or policy emphasis between the Business and Health Schools relating to the use of PTTs and so the different disciplines are considered separately here. The situation in the Business Schools will be considered first Business School Strategies towards PTTs All Business Schools had explicit policies towards the employment of PTTs which varied from an official policy to employ only full-time academic staff; an unwritten but explicit acceptance that employing PTTs enabled a reduction in costs and risks; made time for fulltime staff to engage in research and consultancy; in some cases, for curriculum enhancement. Each of these will now be considered. HEI Policy to Employ Only FT Staff In three Business Schools (A, B, F), the official HEI and School policy was, as far as possible, to recruit academic staff to full-time contracts only. At Business School A, the University policy aimed to convert all part-time contracts to fractional contracts, although PTTs delivering specialist subjects could remain hourly paid. The opinion expressed by a Head of Department was: if I had a choice I wouldn t have any part-time staff because only full-time staff have a workload allocation which covers everything. Although PTTs may be seen as more economical in the short term, I would have one full-time rather than three parttime staff. Similarly, at Business School B, the dream is to have a totally full-time faculty of the best staff for growth of the business with PTTs considered as simply a person who is paid for teaching on a fractional or sessional basis. At Business School F, there had been an explicit policy since 2000 to employ all staff on fulltime contracts only. The reason for this related partly to employment law and partly to concerns about the availability of part-time staff to students. However one programme director commented that: Heads try and recruit full-time staff but it s unrealistic Now the gaps are filled on the fly rather than by a planned thoughtful approach thereby denying the school: access to diversity and a pool of talented people who prefer to teach on a part-time basis. Some fractionals are nearing retirement age, and we are hoping to replace them with full-time teachers. Yet, in these three Business Schools senior staff admitted that achieving the employment of only full-time faculty was impractical, especially in terms of responding to the realities of teaching outside the standard working day, at different locations (including overseas), and BMAF & HSAP Subject Centres 18

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