‘Our days are numbered: Metrics, managerialism, and academic development’: in one sense, our days are numbered, because our work time is increasingly dedicated to quantitative analysis, and then planning and providing services on the basis of that analysis. In the other sense, academic development is done for. The research undertaken for this publication will show that the first seems to be true, but the second is not. In fact, academic development is in demand, although in rather different ways than previously.
This publication notes the significant differences which national and institutional uses of metrics have made to so many aspects of university life: to strategy, to cultures, to funding, to student recruitment, to the motivation of staff and students, and to institutional hierarchies and rankings, locally and globally. In fact, metrics will increasingly affect the forward trajectory and survival of institutions. It is also noted that, in dealing with metrics, we are treading very tricky ground conceptually, given some of the faulty reasoning and shaky assumptions which the publication identifies as underpinning metrics. If we add to this the disjunction between the culture of metrics and accountability, and what were previously thought to be higher education values, it is inevitable that behaviours will be distorted as institutions fight to navigate these challenges, respecting, perhaps, the letter, rather than the spirit, of the law.
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