In at the Deep End: Experiences of New Academics in Their First Year as University Lecturers

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The expansion of the Higher Education provision in the UK saw Polytechnics become Universities in 1992, and a range of vocational courses shift into the university sector. Traditionally many of these courses have been taught by professionals in the field, rather than academics who have followed the degree – full-time PhD – post-doc researcher to lecturer career path.

This paper tells the stories of experienced and well-respected professionals ‘in their field’ who move into academia for the first time in full-time positions. By recording their thoughts, experiences and reflections over their first two semesters of teaching, the paper gives an insight into the differences between professional and academic workplaces; the personal adjustment required of the individuals; and their perception of the difference between the business of being a professional ‘doing the job’ and the ‘teaching’ of the profession.

The paper focuses on 5 experienced teachers who become teacher educators and the journey they take in their first year of academia in a University School of Education. The paper presents a fresh view on the peculiarities of academia from the fresh eyes of experienced professionals joining the academy, and offers some insights into the differences between the academic and professional workplaces.


Keywords: Professional Practice, Identity, Higher Education, Lecturer, Professional Learning
Stream: Adult, Vocational, Tertiary and Professional Learning
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr. Roger Levy

Head of Group, School of Education, University of Hertfordshire
Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK

Having taught history for 18 years in High Schools, Roger moved into teacher education - training teachers and teaching on Master's and Doctorate Programmes. Curriculum evaluation and mentoring have been the focus of professional practice and research; these research interests continue and have extended into the nature teacher development and professional learning more generally.

Dr. Joy Jarvis

Teaching and Learning Narrator, School of Education, University of Hertfordshire
Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK


Dr. Claire Dickerson

Research Fellow, School of Education, University of Hertfordshire
Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK


Ref: L09P0334