22 SES 12 B, Formation and Academic Development: The Roles and Responsibilities of Academic Developers
This Symposium, consisting of four papers with authors from four countries, is designed to continue discussions raised at ECER conferences in Berlin, Istanbul, Porto, and Budapest on the comparative study of institutional formation, as well as the related topics discussed in the 2014 Special Issue of IJAD (Napoli & Clement 2014) on identity and academic developers (ADs). The IJAD Special Issue begs the research questions we seek to answer: what approaches and practices can academic developers use to live up to their ideals in their practices, in particular when they face difficult situations? The four papers in this session explore different aspects of the formation of academic developers in Norway, Sweden, and the U.S., in particular their professional responsibilities in the current higher education policy climate. We understand formation to describe the ways in which individuals are ‘shaped’ and ‘reshaped’ by their experiences and critical reflection on those experiences, which can in turn help them clarify their professional responsibilities as ADs and how they align with – or not – with the goals, attitudes, values, and aspirations of their university (Foster et al, 2006; Colby & Sullivan 2008; Benner et al, 2010; Sutphen & de Lange, 2015). And in turn, ADs may change their goals, attitudes, and values. We also propose an approach– deliberative communication – for ADs to clarify their reflections and act on their conclusions. Deliberative communication (Englund, 2006) stands for communication in which different opinions and values can be set against each other and evaluated. Finally, we draw on Barnett’s (2011) concepts of the University (the Metaphysical, Entrepreneurial, Scientific, and Bureaucratic) to develop a conceptual framework describing different orientations of contemporary universities and use the conceptual framework to analyse the goals, values, and aspirations as expressed in mission statements and strategic plans of two European and one North American research-intensive universities.
The Symposium will focus on concepts of formation individuals and institutions. The first paper raises the problem of how educational research may contribute to our understanding of formation in higher education and introduces a framework to analyse the formation of ADs. It will introduce the concept of formation, which we define as how individuals’ values, aspirations, and practices are ‘shaped’ and ‘reshaped’ by their experiences and critical reflection. Drawing on different interpretations of the public good, it also introduces deliberative communication as an approach academic developers can use to clarify their professional responsibilities when confronted with conflicting issues. The second paper discusses two case studies of how academic developers reflect on their practice when confronted with conflicting issues and the implications for their formation and professional responsibilities. The case studies analyse the reactions of ADs when they confronted with conflicting issues and speculate on how such experiences might influence their formation. The third paper focuses on how key institutional leaders conceive of the roles of ADs within the context of the strategic plans at their universities. The fourth paper investigates institutional formation and the implications for ADs posed by the promises universities make to uphold a public good.
By way of case studies and conceptual framework, the proposed Symposium speaks to the conference theme of leadership in education and seeks to provide ADs with approaches that support their formation as professionals dedicated to upholding their highest ideals of practice. We propose formation as a concept that can open up discussion of how different milieus can support (or not) the professional responsibilities of academic staff and university leaders. The Symposium also contributes to the conference theme on research by proposing new methods of studying the professional responsibilities of academic staff.
Benner, P., Sutphen, M., Leonard, V. & Day, L. (2010). Educating nurses: A call for radical transformation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Colby, A. & Sullivan, W,M. (2008) Formation of Professionalism and Purpose: Perspective from the Preparation for the Professions Program: University of St. Thomas Law Journal 5 U. St. Thomas L.J. 404 -427. Di Napoli, R., & Clement, M. (2014). The agency game in academic development: compliance and resistance. International Journal for Academic Development, 19(1), 1-3. Englund, Tomas (2006). Deliberative communication: a pragmatist proposal. Journal of Curriculum Studies 38(5), 503-520. Foster, C., Dahill, L., Golemon, L., & Tolentino, B. (2005). Educating Clergy: Teaching practices and pastoral imagination. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Sutphen, M & de Lange, T (2015). What is formation? A conceptual discussion. Higher Education Research & Development 34 (2), 411-419.
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