We’re all going on a summer holiday?
It’s that time of year again. If you’re an academic, someone is going to ask you today whether you are now on your holidays, and how you will spend this enjoyable period of two or more months of absolute leisure. And you’re going to feel highly annoyed, knowing as you do that three weeks is as much of a break as you can hope for. Right now you’re planning your summer research, the update of your course materials for next year, the academic conference circuit. In fact for some academics summer may actually be the busiest time.
So why does nobody believe us? In part the answer is because too many people remember that school teachers really do take a month or two off, and they imagine it absolutely must be the same for university teachers. In part it is because some higher education institutions really close down physically for weeks on end in the summer. In part it is because what academics do in the summer months is less visible than what they do during the teaching term.
Overall the academic profession has not been successful in explaining what lecturers do in the summer and why it matters. Just as people look for all sorts of efficiency gains in universities, it is important for the academy to show what the current levels of efficiency are. And to look ahead to how these can be reformed and adapted to changing circumstances without damaging the system of higher education.
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