Image courtesy UCL Engineering

Engineering academics believe teaching offers little career value

UK engineering academics believe that the quality of their teaching has little value on their careers, according to a new report.

Entitled ‘Does teaching advance your academic career?’, the report published by the Royal Academy of Engineering found a profound difference between the perceptions of university managers and the lecturers themselves.

It identified a series of issues deeply ingrained in university culture, including the emphasis on research reputation and income when it comes to promotion, academic mobility and allocation of resources.

Of those questioned, the report highlighted that almost three quarters of engineering lecturers thought teaching was not an important criterion for promotion to professorship. However, over three quarters of senior managers reported that teaching excellence was important for promotion at their institution.

“The main conclusion we draw from this study is that there is a negative perception among engineering lecturers of the extent to which teaching is valued by their academic institutions, despite the latter declaring teaching as a key priority,” said Dr Rhys Morgan, Director of Engineering and Education at the Academy.

“There is a risk that such attitudes may affect the quality of teaching itself, with lecturers investing less effort in an activity that they see as not being relevant to their career prospects. Universities need to take action to change these perceptions among academics and show, through their promotions procedures, that teaching quality does matter to them,” he added.

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