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Academic careers
1 Posts
Advocates of professional registration (and registered professionals looking to move into academia) might be intrigued to learn that job adverts for lectureships (at various grades and in various specialisms) by Birmingham City University's School of Computing and Digital Technology now state that  "Membership of a professional body (such as the BCS or the IET) and professional registration (such as CITP or CEng) would be an advantage at all grades." Note that professionalism in Higher Education is multifaceted. Let me explain:

The credential most associated with an academic post is surely the doctorate degree (PhD, DPhil, EngD, etcetera). The Quality Assurance Agency states that "All UK doctorates, regardless of their form, continue to require the main focus of the candidate's work to demonstrate an original contribution to knowledge in their subject, field or profession, through original research or the original application of existing knowledge or understanding." 

However, a research degree is not enough — and is not always required! Higher Education providers need academics who are committed to professionalism in learning and teaching. For that reason, academics working in the UK can expect to attend in-house continuing professional development programmes that lead to Fellowship (from Associate to Principal) of AdvanceHE.

Yet another consideration is that Professional Engineering Institutions provide guidance that a significant proportion of the staff in an academic department offering Engineering Council accredited degrees should be professionally registered. That is entirely reasonable as their graduates are deemed to (partially) satisfy the educational requirements for professional registration, but it can present a challenge to those departments. At BCU, we recently benefitted from accreditation visits from the BCS and the IET and are now addressing the requirements and recommendations of the respective panels. 
2 Replies
Interesting. I didn't pay attention to it when I was studying but I just checked online and around a third of the academic staff where I studied were CEng, although given that the CEng is usually swamped by other post-nominals I'm not sure how much weight it carries in academia. Good to hear you have included in your job adverts at Birmingham City.

1022 Posts
 "Membership of a professional body (such as the BCS or the IET) and professional registration (such as CITP or CEng) would be an advantage at all grades."

I would say that sounds okay; but when a candidate is offered a position at the bottom of the salary scale depending on the seniority of the job role (grade 7, 8 or 9) they should request a starting salary one or more increment above the offer made, on the basis that they have to pay annual subscription expenses to the IET and EC to keep their CEng and MIET|FIET as well as related expenses - travel, and/or conference fees - in order to network with like-minded engineers, and industries and maintain an up to date CPD profile; unless of course the employer is willing to cover all expenses.

Secondly, many academic and technical support staff join the national UCU trade union to represent them in: negotiating annual pay rises; avoid any redundancies where possible; protect the pension scheme; provide legal cover, and so on. The annual fees can be as much as (or above) the combined IET membership and EC registration fees. So that's quite a lot of annual expenses to cover; although I would recommend that candidates avoid discussing joining the trade union when being offered the job - joining a trade union is a personal choice.


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