The Australian Educational Researcher

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 179–194 | Cite as

Shifting goal posts: the impact of academic workforce reshaping and the introduction of teaching academic roles on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

  • Helen FlavellEmail author
  • Lynne Roberts
  • Georgina Fyfe
  • Michelle Broughton


This qualitative study reports on findings from interviews with ten academics in an Australian university six to twelve months following academic workforce reshaping and the widespread introduction of teaching academic roles. The research aimed to determine how the workforce reshaping impacted on the capacity of academics with teaching responsibilities to engage in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). Findings indicate that whilst academics were willing to undertake SoTL, participants’ capacity to engage was hampered by the workload model, middle academic leaders’ capacity to define and lead SoTL, and a perceived lack of SoTL value. A major concern for participants was that shifting goal posts (in relation to roles and expectations) would make it difficult to successfully apply for future academic work. The research indicates the need for the sector to consider the selection criteria for middle leadership roles, as well as ongoing academic leadership development to support adaptability and change agility.


Scholarship of Teaching and Learning SoTL Higher education Change management Teaching academics Academic specialisation 



The authors would like to thank the participants who were a part of the study.


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Copyright information

© The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Health SciencesCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia

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