Call for nominations: Chartered ABS Apprenticeships Committee

The Chartered Association of Business Schools is seeking new members for our Apprenticeships Committee.

17th July 2024

Dynamic Conversations

What is Dynamic Conversations?

Dynamic Conversations is an online resource to promote dissemination and discussion of contemporary learning, teaching and student experience issues in the business school sector. 

It provides a framework to support topical debate on contemporary issues, collate varied opinions in a curated format and pose thought provoking questions for wider discussion at an associated panel event that will take place after the release of the special edition. 

Engaging in Dynamic Conversations is a fantastic way to fulfil your CPD requirements for your CMBE subscription.

The conversation today:

From Precarity to Parity: Is it possible to enhance the perception of Casual Academics in UK Higher Education?

According to HESA data in 2019, there were 71,960 casual academics (including, but not limited to, PGTAs, Hourly-paid lecturers, Associate Lecturers, Visiting Lecturers, class teachers, post-docs etc) working in the UK HE sector, and 37,000 more employed on a fixed-term basis– together accounting for 25-30% of university teaching.

UK business school curricula are enhanced by using casual practitioner academics to authenticate student learning. For many years, business has been the most popular subject in all UK Universities and a vital source of revenue (Chartered ABS, 2023) hence occupying a place of status and substance within its HEI. However, could these business schools be guilty of hiring more hourly paid lecturers to cope with increased student numbers rather than purely for their practitioner experience?

Debates around the experience of casual academics are increasing, often with the viewpoint that their experience is far from a positive one and needs serious attention. Back in 2002, Park and Ramos described the experience of casual academics as being the “donkey in the department” – expected to take on the heavy lifting work of teaching, marking and student support, but without the same respect and remuneration afforded to full-time faculty members (for a more recent study, see: Shum and Fryer, 2020).  For organisations seeking to improve their educational offering, addressing the issues impacting this large percentage of their workforce seems a pressing matter.

In our Dynamic Conversation, we invite contributors to consider the various perspectives on the issue of: What more can be done to increase the standing of casual academics within their departments?

Prompting questions may include:

  • To what extent does the reliance on casual academics enhance or undermine the quality of education in UK Higher Education institutions?

  • What specific departmental changes could realistically be implemented to enhance the respect, remuneration, and career development opportunities for casual academics?

Join the conversation to share your challenges and successes. Make your submission to by 13 September.

Explore previous editions of Dynamic Conversations: