22 SES 03A, Academic Development in Higher Education (Part 1)
Recent policy developments in Higher Education (HE) in the UK under successive (New) Labour administrations since 1997 have fore-grounded the ideas that learning and teaching are central to the purpose of HE and that all students are entitled to be taught well (DFEE, 1998; DFES, 2003). This policy evolution and implementation has taken place within the context of enhanced co-operation between HE institutions across an expanding European Union (EU), and demonstrated in the increased possibilities of mobility for HE staff and students within the EU member States (Bologna Declaration, 1999; Treaty of Nice, 2001). These national level policy developments have also given rise to a range of institutional transformations across the UK HE sector in relation to both new and existing academic and teaching staff, not least the aspiration that all teachers in HE should possess a professional teaching qualification, increased funding levels and rewards for teaching excellence and the associated establishment of the Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (ILTHE), which subsequently became the Higher Education Academy (HEA). At institutional level, these types of development have had profound implications for the occupational socialization and preparation for new entrants to the profession as they encounter periods of induction and probation, and including a range of influencing agents, for example, their academic biographies, disciplinary contexts and departmental academic cultures. Drawing on data generated from a pilot project based at one university in the south-east of England, this paper empirically maps the expectations of, and confrontations with, aspects of the local realities of these developments for a group of new and probationary academic staff. The paper will outline and discuss participants’ reception of and responses to their institutional perspectives focused around the revised vocabularies and practices of learning and teaching issues. The paper further explores the ways in which the new academics construct and make sense of these vocabularies and issues in relation to the learning and teaching of their own students and their early and anticipated career trajectories. Appropriate to the scale of the project, recommendations will be made for the organisation of induction and probationary processes for new academic staff in relation to learning and teaching practices and processes. Key words: occupational socialization; social construction; learning and teaching in higher education
semi-structured interviews, secondary data analysis, documentary and policy analysis
Selected outcomes include: a. a series of recommendations for the revision of national-level practices and procedures for new and probationary academic and teaching staff in HE b. a series of recommendations in relation to aspects of the integration of European (and Internationalisation) agendas and their implications for induction and probationary processes and procedures for new academic staff in HE c. the generation of exploratory data and analyses in relation to the occupational socialization of a professional group that are significantly under-represented in this genre of literature and the extent to which these data and analyses are able to articulate with dominant and existing theoretical paradigms and analytical frames d. recommendations for further (large-scale) and comparative research on this professional group that draws on the critical mass of knowledge from the inter-disciplinary and rich tradition of research and publications in occupational socialization studies
DFEE (1998) Higher Education for the 21st Century: response to the Dearing Report. London: DFEE DFES (2003) The future of Higher Education. London: DFES
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