This paper examines the changing landscape of higher education from the perspective of teaching academics. Critical thinking has been seen as one of the central facets of the academic identity and so this paper uses the notion of critical thinking as a lens through which to explore this changing identity. It argues that the professional identity of the academic is in a state of flux, which has caused uncertainty regarding the academic role, its freedoms and responsibilities. The particular focus here is on teaching and the changes occurring in this arena. The paper reports the findings of a qualitative study based on in-depth interviews with academic staff across five disciplines from two Australian universities. In the modern university, the pressures of accountability to a range of stakeholders, both internal and external, are changing the face of university teaching.