There has been a lot of discussion about how modern universities, increasingly run as corporations, have shifted the mission of higher education and the place of academics within universities. What does this mean for academics, particularly academics who are early career? This presentation, based on research with Humanities and Social Sciences academics transitioning from doctoral studies into their first academic appointment, will discuss the experiences of early career academics in the context of modern universities. Three main aspects of early career academics’ experience will be discussed, along with what this means for universities supporting academics’ work. The first aspect is the influence that governmental and university policies and procedures have on academic work, both the work academics undertake and the ways in which they accomplish that work. The second is the role of colleagues, both academic and professional staff, in helping early career researchers to navigate academic work and their new environment. The last is the affective experience of early career academics and the toll this takes on individuals. Early career academics’ experiences will be highlighted, including problems encountered with university information, communication, and support, as well as what can be done to help support their work.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Dr Rebekah Willson is a Lecturer in Information Science in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK. She obtained her PhD in 2016, her dissertation focussing on the experience of individuals transitioning from doctoral student to early career academic. Her main area of research is in information behaviour – what information individuals need and how they find, share, and use that information – particularly in the workplace. Her latest research examines the precarity in modern universities and the influence that has on the information behaviour of academics on short-term contracts. For more information and her CV, please go to: https://rebekahwillson.com/