Vision 2020 - Understanding Generational Change and its Implications for Women in the Academic Workforce
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Generational change is seen as a key challenge for many Australian universities. The ATN group of universities recognised the challenge this can bring to the sector at their 2005 annual conference and looked at the implications of an ageing academic workforce and, in particular, how this should be taken into account when planning for a sustainable future. Discussion of generational change needs to include consideration of succession development, recruitment and promotion, career choices, support for new academics and personal choices for work/life balance in the context of career planning and retirement. Generational change has become an important issue for strategic planning in universities.In this paper we consider its relevance for individual women at different stages in their academic career. As a parallel activity to the broader institutional discussion of generational change we ran, in late 2005, two focus groups to gather information on attitudes to change from women academics of different ages. The starting point of our discussion, which aimed to take into account the strategic implications of generational change, was to ask what should the university of 2020 be like? How were the respondents considering their own contribution to leadership? How are women to become more visible in the university of the future?The hypothesis being tested by this look into the future was: are current ideas about collegiality likely to be challenged by greater individualisation?This paper will report on discussions from the focus groups. Our preliminary analysis shows that there is a gendered discussion that needs to be continued, especially for considering women's leadership and gender equity.
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