Supporting Early-Career Academics in the UK Computer Science Community

Tom Crick, James H. Davenport, Alan Hayes, Alastair Irons, Tom Prickett
2021 Computing Education Practice 2021  
The early career of a computer science academic in the United Kingdom (UK) -as with most other disciplines -is challenging in terms of balancing research aspirations, learning and teaching responsibilities, wider academic service commitments, as well as their own professional development. In terms of learning and teaching development, this commonly involves working towards Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (now known as Advance HE), either by direct application or via successful
more » ... ion of an accredited institutional taught postgraduate course. Typically, if a course is required (often as part of their academic probation), the focus will be general higher education learning and teaching pedagogy rather than specifically focused on computer science and cognate areas. The formal institutional course requirements are normally supplemented by mentoring from within their department from experienced academic colleagues. Thus, the quality of development for an early-career academic will be enhanced in part by the strength of the community of practice operating within the department and the communities of practice that exist at a national and international level, often through professional bodies, learned societies and sub-disciplinary groupings. This paper explores the work-in-progress to address some of these structural, cultural and community challenges at both the institutional and national level in the UK, based on empirical themes collected from a workshop help at a recent UK computer science education research conference. We identify a number of specific actions and recommendations to supplement the current formal institutional requirements with enhanced national-level academic practice support and professional development, alongside local and regional professional mentoring.
doi:10.1145/3437914.3437977 fatcat:w4gdawe57barjk5xvdo7t6zwze