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The professionalisation of teaching in higher education in the UK: perceptions and understandings

The professionalisation of teaching in higher education in the UK: perceptions and understandings

Dennison, Paul Henry (2017) The professionalisation of teaching in higher education in the UK: perceptions and understandings. EdD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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Since the foundation of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) in 2003, professionalisation of teaching in Higher Education (HE) has had a championing organisation, whose remit includes the accreditation of initial teacher education qualifications and institutional professional recognition schemes, the two routes by which teaching academics achieve the HEA’s fellowship credential, FHEA.

This thesis uses a staged research process to explore the perceptions of teaching academics about the impact and equivalence of the two routes into “the profession”, and what they understand by “being [a] professional”.

In stage one, a group of teaching academics at University of Greenwich were interviewed and their contributions analysed thematically. One area of consensus – what they understood by “being [a] professional” – suggested a framework of orientations that teaching professionals have “responsibility for” and “duty towards”. This, in turn, suggested a congruence with the motivations that obtained when the professions developed as clerical specialisations, during the Middle Ages, and which emerge in new but recognizably related forms ever since. The concept(s) of professionalism are re-emergent. They are socially robust.

In stage two, the study was widened to include interviews with educational developers at three other Higher Education Institutions from diverse mission groups revealing notable variation in the way professionalisation was implemented across the sector. The framework of orientations crystallized as a model for the “logic” of an ideal-type individual professional, consistent with Freidson’s (2001) “third logic” of collective professionalism.

In stage three, key outcomes were critically evaluated in a free-text questionnaire to norm circles of teaching academics, experienced in implementing the two routes, and also to the original interviewees. The results lend considerable warrant to the model for the “logic” of an ideal-type professional. Other research outcomes have implications for the increased governmentality in the HE sector brought to bear through the (2016) Teaching Excellence Framework.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Teaching in higher education; professionalisation; GOLD recognition process; Higher Education Academy;
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Education (EDU)
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2019 11:12

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