The imagined and the real: identifying the tensions for academic identity
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Changes within the higher education sector have had significant effects on the identity of the individual academic. As institutions transform in response to government-driven policy and funding directives, there is a subsequent impact upon the roles and responsibilities of those employed as educational professionals. Academic practices are changing as multiple roles emerge from the reshaping of academic work. Institutional pressures to produce specific research outputs at the same time as teaching and undertaking managerial/administrative responsibilities are creating tension between what academics perceive as their professional identity and that prescribed by their employing organisation. Reconciling this disconnect is part of the challenge for academics, who are now seeking to understand and manage their changing identity. Narratives obtained from research in a university with a polytechnic background and an institute of technology (aspiring to be a university), provide some subjective reflections for examining this issue.