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Continuing professional development in higher education: debating the academic perspective

By Karin Crawford


This paper provides an overview of a research project in progress and the debates it addresses. The three-year\ud project is set within the context of contemporary UK Higher Education (HE) policy. The paper summarises the research\ud which focuses on developing an understanding of the influences on Continuing Professional Development (CPD) practices in academia, in particular exploring how academics interpret their responsibilities for their own lifelong learning and knowledge creation within the learning organisation. This paper provides an overview of the research context, before exploring relevant current debates and issues from the literature. In this way, the author raises some of the contemporary debates and dilemmas in relation to CPD in Higher Education; examples include: the intention and influence of national policy, including analysis of how higher education policy is interpreted, implemented and impacts upon practice; how CPD is defined and understood; collectivity and social learning in academia; and the motivations, intentions and actions of academics in respect of CPD. In the light of the discussion, the research project’s overall purpose, aims, rationale and key questions are detailed. The conceptual and theoretical framework that underpins this work is taken from ‘third generation activity theory’, its principles and assumptions are also elaborated within this paper. The paper therefore raises debates and apparent tensions and dilemmas related to CPD in academia. In view of those debates, the qualitative multi-case study project outlined in the paper, which has a distinct and original focus on the perspective and ‘voices’ of academics, is likely to result in outcomes that are important and significant for a range of stakeholders across the higher education sector

Topics: X200 Research and Study Skills in Education, X342 Academic studies in Higher Education, X142 Training Teachers - Higher Education
Publisher: Common Ground Publishing Pty Ltd
Year: 2007
OAI identifier:

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