The Australasian Council of Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (DASSH) is the authoritative agency on research, teaching and learning for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) in Australian and New Zealand universities. DASSH supports those within these institutions who have responsibility for the governance and management of research and teaching and learning in their universities. DASSH also supports those who aspire to these positions through a Network of Associate Deans (International), a Network of Associate Deans (Learning and Teaching) and a Network of Associate Deans (Research).
In responding to this Future humanities workforce discussion paper, DASSH intends primarily to provide insights from the perspective of leaders in the academic humanities workforce. Our members’ knowledge in this sense is drawn from direct experience in defining strategic directions and managing academic personnel in university contexts, and from their understanding of graduate career pathways and non-academic employers’ perceptions of humanities graduates. Strategic decisions made by Deans and other university leaders necessitate practical consideration of questions relating to financial sustainability and the appetites of those consuming academic products (i.e. teaching and research outputs). Therefore, in responses to some questions, our members experienced a conflict between what they believe is the ideal course of action and what they know to be achievable in the current humanities and higher education landscape. The responses below attempt to include both practical advice and speculations on what could be achieved should the current landscape undergo substantial change.