Employable scholars: their transition as professional educators

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    Previously, doctoral study was perceived as a necessary apprenticeship for subsequent academic careers, with the expectation that PhD researchers would be able to learn all they needed about this future employment from their supervisors (McAlpine & Åkerlind, 2010). However, the last decade has seen a significant shift from the elite few achieving this highest-level qualification to the massification of global doctoral opportunities, implying an attendant divergence of employment opportunities for graduates (Kehm et al, 2018). Commensurate with this, early career opportunities in academia have become scarcer, more demanding in expectations and often precarious in nature (Pitt & Mewburn, 2016). Regardless of this changing context a significant proportion of doctoral candidates - 51% according to Advance-HE’s 2018 PRES - continue to visualize themselves as career academics (Beaton, 2017; Chadha, 2013; Edwards et al, 2011). The primary focus of PhD researchers was however deemed to be just that, opportunities to engage in L&T were seen as adjunct to doctoral studies, and mirrored by the separation of respective institutional portfolios: consequently those tasked with guiding PhD researchers in these, perceived as distinct, areas of practice seldom sought out opportunities for collaboration (Marsh & Hattie, 2002; Kinchin et al, 2009). To gain insight into current UK recruitment expectations for early career academics the authors conducted a snapshot review of lecturer and teaching fellow posts advertised on the recruiting site jobs.ac.uk. The posts, ranged from research-intensive institutions to teaching focused ones, all used language clearly indicating that they were targeted at applicants who were recent doctoral candidates: 95% of advertisements expected applicants to have a proven track -record of HE teaching. This presentation will illustrate, through a longitudinal case study based in a large UK university, how a collaboration between educational developers and the Doctoral College focusing on developing professional capabilities and experience as HE educators during doctoral study, prepares and enhances the employment potential of those committed to transitioning to a career in academia. Key themes explored include how an Advance HE accredited course can support doctoral researchers to develop not only their skills as educators but also their academic identity, voice and resilience thus positioning them with the potential and cultural capital to survive as more rounded early career academics. Advance-HE (2018). Postgraduate Research Experience Survey. Advance-HE, York. Retrieved from: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/institutions/surveys/postgraduate-researchexperience-survey 20/11/18 Beaton, F. (2017). Just in time and future-proofing? Policy, challenges and the professional development of part-time teachers. International Journal for Academic Development, 22:1, 19-30. DOI: 10.1080/1360144X.2016.1261354 Chadha, D. (2013). Reconceptualising and reframing graduate teaching assistant (GTA) provision for a research-intensive institution. Teaching in Higher Education, 18:2, 205- 217. DOI:10.1080/13562517.2012.696537 Edwards, D., Bexley, E., & Richardson, S. (2011). Regenerating the academic workforce: The careers, intentions and motivations of higher degree research students in Australia: Findings of the National Research Student Survey (NRSS). Retrieved from https://research.acer.edu.au/higher_education/23/ 07/08/18 Kehm B.M., Freeman R.P.J., Locke W. (2018) Growth and Diversification of Doctoral Education in the United Kingdom. In: Shin J., Kehm B., Jones G. (eds) Doctoral Education for the Knowledge Society. Knowledge Studies in Higher Education. Springer, Cham pp105-121 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-89713-4_7 Kinchin I.M., Hatzipabagos S. & Turner N. (2009) Epistemological separation of research and teaching among graduate teaching assistants, Journal of Further and Higher Education 33:1, pp45-55 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03098770802638267 Marsh H.W. & Hattie. J (2002) The relation between research productivity and teaching effectiveness: Complementary, antagonistic, or independent? Journal of Higher Education 73:5, pp603-641 McAlpine, L. & Åkerlind, G. (2010) Academic Practice in a Changing International Landscape in McAlpine, L. & Åkerlind, G. (Eds) (2010) Becoming an Academic: International Perspectives. Basingstoke, Palgrave McMillan. pp1-15 Pitt, R. & Mewburn, I. (2016). Academic superheroes? A critical analysis of academic job descriptions, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 38:1, 88- 101. DOI: 10.1080/1360080X.2015.1126896 Wilson, R (n.d) The Profile of a Modern Teacher https://wayfaringpath.coetail.com/2014/10/14/the-profile-of-a-modern-teacher/ accessed 21/11/18
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2019
    EventStaff and Educational Development Association (SEDA) Spring Teaching, Learning and Assessment Conference: Collaboration to support the student experience and progression - Clayton Hotel, Belfast, Northern Ireland
    Duration: 9 May 201910 May 2019


    ConferenceStaff and Educational Development Association (SEDA) Spring Teaching, Learning and Assessment Conference
    Country/TerritoryNorthern Ireland
    Internet address


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