Citizenship education has developed against the backdrop of civic disengagement. However, as attention has focused on the incorporation of citizenship education into the school curriculum, the responsibilities of citizenship incumbent on the academic community within higher education has been largely overlooked. This paper examines the reasons for the apparent decline of academic citizenship through an analysis of three elements of citizenship. It argues that the erosion of academic self-governance has led to the decline of political literacy in academic life and that a range of other forces, including under-funded massification and research audit, have damaged social and moral responsibility and the responsibilities implied by community involvement. It is concluded that adjustments to reward and recognition structures and professorial leadership are vital if the academic is not to become increasingly disengaged from the service role. Copyright © 2005 The Author.