Parallels between philosophy and academic development: under-labourers, critics, or leaders?

Tom Cunningham*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How should we conceptualise the role of academic developers? Academic development is criticised for being (1) under-theorized, (2) overly reflexive, and (3) intellectually fragmented. This paper attempts to address these concerns by drawing parallels between these criticisms and long-standing debates in philosophy. Philosophers have debated their role in academia: whether they should be seen as under-labourers, critics, or even leaders in relation to other disciplines. They, too, have been criticised for being overly reflexive and intellectually fragmented. A recognition of parallels, and differences, between such debates and those in academic development can help provide the conceptual resources to address the three criticisms.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal for Academic Development
Early online date14 Nov 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Nov 2022


  • leadership
  • role
  • philosophy
  • scholarship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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