Thursday, 26 November 2015

"Second class" lecturers

Business Schools teach about successful (and sometimes unsuccessful) businesses where strategic missions are fully supported by an appropriate mix of resources.  Taking Google as a success story we can see clearly the mix of technical, entrepreneurial, marketing , financial and people management expertise that combine to make the company a good place to build a career (so we are told) and a successful place to invest the pension pot.
So, you would expect that a Business School would balance in the mix of lecturers and professors in business education as suggested in AACSB Standard 15 ?
In brilliant business consultancy style AACSB identifies a 2 x 2 matrix of academic staff sorted by sustained activity (either scholarly / research or applied / practice) and point of entry (either PhD route or via a professional career).  This gives 4 "classes" of lecturer:

Key: SP = Scholarly Practitioner; IP = Instructional Practitioner; SA = Scholarly Academic and PA = Practice Academic.

Clearly SAs are the traditional model of Research focused academics, able to command the title "Professor", be feted in International conferences, draw high salaries...  If they can communicate with mere earthlings in order to be effective teachers then that's a bonus.  SP's can also gain this academic high ground, through embracing the SA career path.  Often SAs have enough about them to communicate well with students and teach effectively - "real world" experience it is called - as if Business School s are not actually "the real world".

IPs and PAs, however, are the second class lecturers.  These are often effective and popular teachers, charged with student satisfaction, programme management and delivery, recruitment and retention etc.  Typically they do not enjoy the title of "Professor", do not draw high salaries but quietly ensure that the main source of revenue for the School (its student fees) are maintained.  And, let's not forget the administrative and support staff who sweep up after all of the academics.

When a successful Business School needs a mix of resources you would expect to see equal incentives and rewards for all of the AACSB categories - wouldn't you?

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