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Aims: This paper discusses the issues facing the nursing academic workforce and the development of a project at the University of Wollongong in Australia which attempts to address this problem. Background: The project draws on Boyer’s work around ‘scholarship reconsidered’ to enable new ways of thinking about the nature of ‘research’ and how the work of a diversifying workforce can be recognized and rewarded within institutions. Methods: We conducted a series of interviews with senior university staff to identify key issues around academic promotion processes. Feedback from these interviews, along with extensive internal and external consultation and benchmarking, will be used to redraft promotion documentation that includes discipline-specific performance expectations. Results: Interviews revealed a number of perceived and actual barriers to promotion of academic staff who did not conform to a ‘traditional’ view of research expectations. It was widely felt that unspoken expectations about research performance were being used to judge applications for promotion, and that this disadvantaged people from practice or professional backgrounds, or people who had heavy administrative or clinical roles. Conclusions: Internal university processes need to reflect the reality of a diversified workforce. Practice and professional disciplines have responsibilities beyond meeting traditional research output measurements. More flexible and transparent expectation guidelines and career development pathways are needed to build holistic schools and faculty and enable maximum staff productivity.

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