Dynamic Dons Down Under: academics' work and identities in one Australian 'enterprise' university in the early 21st century

Danaher, Patrick Alan and Alcock, Daryl and Danaher, Geoff and Harreveld, R. E. (Bobby) (2004) Dynamic Dons Down Under: academics' work and identities in one Australian 'enterprise' university in the early 21st century. In: Presentation at the Research Centre of the Institute of Education, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK, 22 Sept 2004, Manchester, United Kingdom.

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We take as our starting point for this discussion Middlehurst’s (2003) assertion that “Overestimating change in the short term and underestimating it in the long term is a common phenomenon when revolutions are under way” (p. 3). Middlehurst’s assertion related to ‘virtual’ universities operating in a context of ‘borderless’ higher education. This paper takes up one of the four kinds of boundaries identified by Middlehurst as being crossed in such a context: “private and public, for-profit and not-for-profit education: combining ‘public good’ and ‘private gain’ organizational structures and forms of provision” (p. 5).
In particular, we interrogate some of the implications for academics’ work and identities of Central Queensland University (CQU)’s emergent status as an Australian ‘enterprise’ university (Marginson & Considine, 2000). While acknowledging that the “change” and “revolution” identified by Middlehurst (2003) are national and international in reach and impact, we assert that they are mediated and acted upon regionally and locally. Moreover, they stimulate multiple viewpoints and engagements among academics in response to varying conditions of policy formation and implementation.
The paper examines four issues that encapsulate many of the challenges and opportunities currently exercising the hearts and minds of academics at CQU in its operations as an ‘enterprise’ university:
• The commercialisation and internationalisation of university teaching and learning;
• Changes and constants in students’ attrition and retention;
• The application and impact of online learning management systems in and on universities;
• The promotion of the scholarship of university teaching and learning.
The paper illustrates this examination by referring to two not necessarily consonant sites of policy formation about universities:
• The Australian Government (through initiatives such as the Australian Universities Quality Agency, the Learning and Teaching Performance Fund and the National Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education);
• Central Queensland University (through providing higher education to regional Central Queensland campuses, international students on Australian metropolitan campuses and international students in overseas centres).
The paper presents the argument that these issues and sites constitute a veritable “revolution” in academics’ work and identities at CQU, centred on long-term and permanent “change” and accompanied by a series of potential stressors that highlight possible ethical dilemmas and politicised decision making. At the same time, the authors derive personal optimism from their identification of, and their deployment of, ‘uncanny openings’ and ‘strategic uncertainties’ (Stronach & MacLure, 1997) around their colleagues’ and their own work and identities. These ‘uncanny openings’ and ‘strategic uncertainties’ suggest the possibility of different and more enabling kinds of dynamism and enterprise for CQU academics in the early 21st century.

Marginson, S., & Considine, M. (2000). The enterprise university: Power, governance and reinvention in Australia. Cambridge, UK and Melbourne, Vic: Cambridge University Press.
Middlehurst, R. (2003). A world of borderless higher education – impact and implications. In S. D’Antoni (Ed.), The virtual university: Models & messages – lessons from case studies (16 pp). Paris: International Institute for Educational Planning, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
Stronach, I., & MacLure, M. (1997). Educational research undone: The postmodern embrace. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Paper presented at the Research Centre of the Institute of Education, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, United Kingdom. No copyright restrictions.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Education
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 00:54
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 22:41
Uncontrolled Keywords: 21st century, academic identities, academic work, Australia, Central Queensland University
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130313 Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130306 Educational Technology and Computing
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/1952

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