The growth in part-time teaching in higher education: the imperative for research in the Irish context

Ann Coughlan


Anecdotal evidence suggests that the structure of the tertiary academic workforce in Ireland has changed dramatically over recent decades. There is growing awareness in the sector of the extent of the use of part-time teaching. With increasing emphasis on the student learning experience, concerns have been articulated in many countries about the implications of the growing casualisation of the academic workforce for the quality of teaching and learning in higher education. This article presents the findings of a literature review on the subject, arguing for appropriate further research as a precursor to action in this much neglected area. The review forms part of a collaborative project between EDIN[1] and HECA[2] that has as its aim the identification of the professional development needs of part-time academic staff in higher education institutions in Ireland. The project was funded by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning[3].

[1] EDIN is the Educational Developers in Ireland Network, representing academic developers working with staff teaching across the third level sector.

[2] HECA is the Higher Education Colleges Association representing 15 private colleges.

[3] The National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education was established by the Minister for Education and Skills in order to enhance the quality of the learning experience for all students at third level, be they full-time, part-time or flexible learners.


part-time teaching; part-time academic staff; casualisation; Ireland; quality; equality; risk management; student learning experience

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