International Practice Development Journal


Title of ArticleThe compassion gap in UK universities
Type of ArticleCritical Reflection on Practice Development
Author/sKathryn Waddington
ReferenceVolume 6, Issue 1, Article 10
Date of PublicationMay 2016
Keywordscompassion, emotion, higher education, narratives, reflexive inquiry

Context: This critical reflection is set in the context of increasing marketisation in UK higher education, where students are seen as consumers, rather than learners with power. The paper explores the dark side of academic work and the compassion gap in universities, in order to make recommendations for practice development in higher education and the human services.

Aims: The paper aims to show how reflexive dialogue can be used to enable the development of compassionate academic practice.

Conclusions and implications for practice:

  • Toxic environments and organisational cultures in higher education have compounded the crisis in compassionate care in the NHS. Implications for practice are:
  • Narrative approaches and critical appreciative inquiry are useful methods with which to reveal, and rectify, failures of compassion
  • Courageous conversations are required to challenge dysfunctional organisational systems and processes
  • Leadership development programmes should include the application of skills of compassion in organisational settings

This article by Kathryn Waddington is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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