Director turnover: an Australian academic development study

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Although it can be argued that directors of central academic development units (ADUs) are critical to the implementation of university teaching and learning strategies, it would appear there is a high director turnover rate. While research in the USA, the UK, and Australia illustrates that ADUs are frequently closed or restructured, that research has not considered the longevity of directors in their positions. This paper reports on the experiences of 19 Australian directors of academic development who retired between 2002 and 2007. The research highlights the high turnover (82% in five years) and the relatively early retirement of directors from their positions, in part related to disagreement with senior managers, lack of a career path, and stress related to the role. Conclusions include that the turnover of staff in director positions has the potential to have a negative impact on the implementation of institutional strategic plans, the retention of corporate knowledge and experience, and the renewal of the academic profession.

Keywords: academic careers; academic development directors; teaching and learning centres; teaching and learning strategy

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Office of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching), RMIT University, Melbourne,VIC, Australia 2: Office of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Students, Learning and Teaching), Australian Catholic University, Brisbane,QLD, Australia

Publication date: June 1, 2012

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