New lecturers' journeys : the formation of 'the academic' in Higher Education

HODGSON, Rebecca Ann (2017). New lecturers' journeys : the formation of 'the academic' in Higher Education. Doctoral, Sheffield hallam University.

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Abstract

This research explores the formation of academic identities in a large, northern post-1992 UK university. The study is contextualized within the current discourse of a managerialist, neo-liberal, marketised higher education context and the dominance of notions of 'excellence'. The research aimed to ascertain how academics conceptualise their academic role and practice over time and what might account for this, with an intention to identify implications for the support and development of new academic staff. The participants were academics who were undertaking or had recently undertaken a Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. A set of longitudinal interviews, three per participant, formed the primary data set with current course participants, with a secondary data set of one off interviews with a separate group of alumni course participants. The research sits within a constructivist paradigm and adopted a reflexive, interpretative approach to data collection and analysis, with both the voice of the researcher and participants remaining visible throughout. An iterative process of qualitative data analysis was used, with themes inductively generated from the data, using first open coding and then qualitative content analysis. Although participant narratives are heterogeneous, overarching themes were identified relating to conceptions of identity and factors influencing this. Conceptions of identity typically saw 'hybridised academic identities' emerging, together with the notion of the academic as a 'tri-professional'. Whilst the notion of 'research' was considered an essential aspect of the academic identity, differing conceptions of what this entailed highlighted disciplinary differences in approaches to research and scholarly practice. Several interdependent factors influencing the development of academic identity and practice were identified from the data. These were self-efficacy, pedagogical agency, mattering, and belonging, which were interrelated with a key aspect of a stable academic identity, pedagogical resilience. These findings informed the development of a tentative conceptual model for the formation of the academic, the 'new academic identity nexus'. Whilst it appeared that courses like a PgCert LTHE can contribute to the development of an academic identity, experiences in local subject contexts were the critical mechanisms through which an academic identity can be developed and realised. The proposed 'new academic identity nexus' has significant implications for leaders and managers in academic institutions.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Doctor of Education. Director of Studies: Bronwen Maxwell
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Hilary Ridgway
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2017 11:31
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2017 08:17
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/17308

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