The purpose of this paper is to examine an aspect of the working lives of a group of Australian college of advanced education academic staff who worked at Bendigo College of Advanced Education, one of Australia's oldest colleges, during the period 1965‐1982.
Using extended interviews that were conducted with academic staff in 1982 this paper examines these academic staff's perspectives on the influence of their own tertiary education and previous employment on their then academic roles.
The academic staff in this study reported that their previous employment was more important in carrying out their academic roles than were other factors such as their tertiary education. Interestingly, current Australian university students, according to university commissioned research, by one research intensive Australian university, also attach more importance to the prior industrial and work experiences of university lecturers as opposed to their research excellence and productivity.
Using the perspectives from these academic staff of almost 50 years ago, this paper questions the direction of current Australian higher education policies and practices with respect to university staffing and its directives and emphases. This paper provides an important insight into current academic careers and the tension in current academic roles as a result of current higher education policy and practice, by using these voices from the past.
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