The experiences in Australia, I wonder how far they echo the British experience of Associate Lecturing, but this I can definitely concur with:
There are good arguments on both sides. But no one, it seems, is looking at the bigger picture in relation to higher education: the concept that casualisation of the academic workforce is bad for Australia as a whole, and contributes to the “lucky country” being in danger of becoming the “dumb country”.
Through casualisation we are losing the power of some of our best educated, smartest people. These are the people who make your children into lawyers, doctors, journalists, teachers, accountants, nurses, scientists, architects and myriad other professionals; they are the ones from whom brilliant ideas can come in the form of medical breakthroughs, communication innovations and creative energy. Sadly, 60 per cent of them, many of whom have spent 10 years at university becoming experts in their fields, are far less productive than they ought to be.
Instead of doing research when they are not teaching, they are running around looking for their next job, or working in other jobs just to pay the bills. Thus, the universities miss out on many academic articles and books that could improve their standing and increase their funding.
Read full story. I have similar thoughts about funding of projects – innovation always seems to be more likely to be funded (because it attracts news), rather than developing a pre-existing project which has already demonstrated it’s value (but not necessarily a monetary income!) – and those working on the projects spend their entire time chasing more funding rather than being able to focus on research (my definition of research includes research into what makes for better teaching).