Who Are They Now? Faculty Role Change in Higher Education

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Five new Technological Universities (TU) have been created through a series of mergers within the Institutes of Technology (IoT) in Ireland. The large scale sectoral changes have resulted in substantial organisational pressures on staff, students and stakeholders. One significant change is the shift from the previous IoT academic 16-18 hours per week ‘teaching-only’ model to a ‘teacher-researcher’ one balanced across research, teaching and innovation. TU key performance indicators (KPIs) will measure organisational success through increased faculty levels of: i) engagement with research/research related activities; ii) increased postgraduate studies research and teaching; and, iii) engagement in knowledge transformation and innovation.
These changes to faculty roles at work are manifesting in a significant shift in individuals’ perceptions of their professional role, leading to an evolving professional identity from ‘teacher’ to that of ‘teacher-researcher’ in the new TUs. Hazelkorn and Moynihan (2011) identify this as a ‘research-led teaching’ role that incorporates the three strands of ‘research, teaching and administration’. The previous ‘academic hours allocation’ model of 16-18 teaching hours per week is still in place within the changing working environment, which doesn’t provide any allocation for research. This is problematic as TU success criteria stipulate the need for increased research outputs and metrics (HEA, 2014; OECD, 2022). The diverse nature and roles of individuals working in the TU sector has also added a layer of complexity as not everyone is in the same place, ready or willing for these changes to happen. Consequently, there is a growing need to explore faculty experiences as they grapple with these changes and endeavour to meet their organisation demands of engaging in research as an integral part of their teaching role at work.
This paper shares results from Phase 1 of the overall study on the profile of the potential population of interest. It draws on a bibliometric analysis to map the evolutionary stages of faculty positions in relation to the personal changes required to move from a ‘teaching’ only to the new ‘teaching/researching’ role. Results from Phase 1 identify positions and roles that individuals typically occupy in IoT-TUs and share information on the nature of their work role as it currently is and what it may look like because of the proposed changes of the new TU.
Original languageEnglish (Ireland)
Title of host publicationECER Conference 2023: The Value of Diversity in Education and Educational Research. University of Glasgow. 21-25 August 2023. ERC.
Publication statusPublished - 22 Aug 2023


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