This chapter is a critical commentary on the research that resulted in the writing of my book College Academics (Potts, 1997) and an abridged version of a thesis that, with the book, comprised my PhD (by publication) submission. In a review of College Academics Tight (1999, p. 128) noted its lack of a personal perspective. Following this, he asked me whether I 'might be in a position to write a paper on the research for the book, the production of the book and how it was received'. In similar vein, Theobald (1998, p. 29) asks her readers how they would respond to an invitation to talk about their work rather than from their work; to talk about the intellectual passions that kept them going when they felt like giving up. Tight's (1999) and Theobald's (1998) observations have influenced the following chapter.
College Academics (Potts, 1997) is a study of the world of academic staff undertaken by an inside researcher. The focus is the occupational socialisation of academic staff at one of Australia's oldest Colleges of Advanced Education. College Academics examines how staff from the Schools of Business, Science, Engineering, and Arts learnt the skills, attitudes and values that helped them adapt to their occupational world. The chief interests of study were the perspectives of the academic staff.
The timeframe is the period 1965 to 1982. This period witnessed strong growth in the whole higher education system in Australia, followed by drastic restructuring and curtailment of