Shift happens; moving from the ivory tower to the mushroom factory

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The values of higher education (HE) are undergoing a disruptive shift. How the rising cost of higher education is being shared between the student and society is driving many of the changes within HE. External pressures on institutions of higher education include reduced public funding, wider student participation and increased competition. These external pressures are influencing the current environment within HE. Academic capitalism encourages institutions to focus on efficiencies and outcomes. Administrators are increasing in numbers and in influence. Students in HE have more choice and are viewed as customers instead of apprentice learners. These collective changes are influencing faculty employment, working conditions, and teaching practices. Institutions are turning to a tiered faculty system. Academic work is being unbundled as paraprofessionals develop and deliver classes. Tenure’s influence is dwindling and an increasing number of faculty are hired as contingent employees. This article will address the external pressures and changing expectations of universities in Australia, the UK and US, and how changing values are influencing faculty, staff utilization and teaching practices.

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