“I Still Feel Isolated and Disposable”: Perceptions of Professional Development for Part-time Teachers in HE

Main Article Content

Jennifer S Leigh


Part-time teachers form an increasingly large part of the workforce within the Academy, in the UK and internationally. They can be employed on sessional or hourly-paid lecturer contracts, and as casual employees are not always able to access professional or academic development and support that is available for other employees. In 2013/14, there has been extensive coverage in the national and higher education press about ‘zero-hours’ contracts. Although some part-time teachers are also graduate students and able to access development through graduate schools and the like, it is likely that many hourly-paid lecturers are left without support. A survey of hourly-paid lecturers at one University in the UK provided data on how these individuals perceived the support and development opportunities available to them. Accessing the hourly-paid lecturers was challenging. Unsurprisingly, given the difficulties in communicating with them as a cohesive group, 60% (n=78) reported that they were unable to access or unaware of any development opportunities. In addition, this group of UK part-time teachers reported feeling isolated and lacking in support, as has been reported by casual academics in Australia.

Article Details

Original Research
Author Biography

Jennifer S Leigh, University of Kent

Lecturer in Higher Education and Academic Practice,

Centre for the Study of Higher Education,

University of Kent


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