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Rethinking the pathways for academic career progression

17 Feb 2021 | Professor Sally Bradley A collection of case studies from higher education institutions sharing ideas for academic career progression is published today.

Academic Career Progression: rethinking pathways is the output from an Advance HE symposium which took place in December 2019 on Academic Career Progression. The series of four case studies is brought together by Professor Sally Bradley and is free for Advance HE members to download.

Professor Bradley shares some insights from Academic Career Progression: rethinking pathways

The impact of Covid-19 has changed many things in higher education over the last year. Career progression for colleagues, perhaps, taking a back seat whilst wrestling with home working (alongside home schooling or other caring responsibilities) and the move to online delivery in the short term, which then evolves to become longer term.

Colleagues will have seen the headlines “UK universities axe thousands of jobs during pandemic” (THE 8 December 2020) and “Almost 10% of Australian university jobs slashed during Covid, with casuals hit hardest’, (The Guardian, 7 October 2020). So the publication of the output of a symposium on Academic Career Progression will be a welcome read.

There are case studies where institutions have rewarded and recognised excellence in teaching within their career structures and work to create a parity of esteem between teaching and research.

There are case studies demonstrating how institutions have supported dual professional colleagues, coming in from practice with valuable authentic experience and networks, and how professional bodies recognise the need for the experience of practice within the course delivery.

Yet, the discussion still needs to be had regarding equality, diversity and inclusion within our institutions career structures:
• where are the role models for our students of colour and other minority students? Can the broken pipeline be fixed in time?
• why do pastoral roles remain the domain of female staff? At what cost to an individual’s career?
• where is the inclusive practice, demonstrated in learning and teaching spaces, replicated in career progression?
• have the barriers to career progression for disabled staff been removed?
• is there real parity of esteem between research and teaching? Institutions cannot develop good researchers without quality teaching.

Academic Career Progression: rethinking pathways provides a starting point to go forward and address these thorny issues which will not have gone away, post-pandemic."

Professor Sally Bradley is Senior Adviser (Professional Learning and Development) at Advance HE

Contributors to the publication:

  • Dr Sarah Floyd, Reader in Higher Education Practice, Ulster University
  • Fran Beaton, retired Senior Lecturer, University of Kent
  • Andrea Cameron, Dean of the School of Applied Sciences and the Intellectual Lead for Teaching and Learning, Abertay University
  • Dr Hilary Lindsay, Honorary Associate, The Open University
  • Dr Susan Smith, Associate Dean (Education and Students) at the University of Sussex BusinessSchool
Advance HE member benefits

Advance HE members can access Academic Career Progression: rethinking pathways for free here


Professional development at Advance HE includes programmes, conferences and events dedicated to developing those at specific stages of their career. Our Development Pathway has been designed to provide support at all stages of your career in higher education and works for you whatever your role or the role of those you manage.


We feel it is important for voices to be heard to stimulate debate and share good practice. Blogs on our website are the views of the author and don’t necessarily represent those of Advance HE.

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