Contributions of general staff to student outcomes: a Delphi study

Association for Tertiary Education Management
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
2009 Tertiary Education Management Conference, 2009, pp. 1 - 12
Issue Date:
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The key resource for universities is their academic and general staff (Hoare, 1995, ï½2); yet, little attention has been paid to the work of general staff (Conway, 2000; Szekeres, 2004; Whitchurch, 2004). Nevertheless, general staff have comprised more than half the workforce in Australian universities since 1996 (Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations [DEEWR], 2009), and a more rigorous understanding of the contribution of general staff towards the strategic goals of their institutions will enhance their institutionsï½ organisational sustainability. While universities have multiple and diverse stakeholders (Marginson, 2006), students occupy the key stakeholder role in a universityï½s core business of learning and teaching. Consequently, the interaction of general staff with students has potential to impact on the sustainability of an institution. This paper describes a preliminary study into how general staff contribute to student outcomes. A meta-study by Prebble et al. (2004) derived 13 propositions for support of student outcomes that focussed on the contribution by academic staff, and Middleton (2006) subsequently surmised that general staff are also central to those outcomes. This study uses the Delphi method to test Middletonï½s (2006) assertion by engaging general staff in ranking the propositions in terms of the contribution of general staff. This paper concludes by discussing implications for future research.
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