"It Shook Me to the Core": Should We Teach Professionalism in Academic Practice?

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Teaching the concept of professionalism in higher education has raised a series of questions for those engaged on a development programme for academic staff. These questions form the focus of this workshop, with the aim of inviting participants to explore whether and how an appropriate version of professionalism can be established for this audience. Evidence will be drawn from tutors who have taught on the programme and from academic staff representing a range of disciplines (such as Management, Medicine, Education, Nursing), who have been the students over the last five years. A series of interrelated themes have been identified and problematised, leading to the evolution of a series of questions. The first theme is one of cognitive dissonance and the discomfort that this creates. Although those teaching the programme had intended to help academic staff to question practice by introducing them to new ideas, this approach had more impact than anticipated. Should we promote change through the questioning of established patterns? Should we actively promote cognitive dissonance? The second theme relates to the implications of any change for interactions with others. Whilst change is promoted by the programme, how participants model their knowledge in practice raises questions over the impact upon students and colleagues who are used to alternative interpretations. Closely linked is a third theme, related to academics’ identities. What impact has establishing a new voice had? Has this new voice, that has ‘shaken participants to the core,’ had the ironic effect of isolating staff who had selected a programme to enhance their practice? Are the close relationships that have been established between participants from different disciplines indicative of a growing isolation within their own discipline? This workshop offers participants an opportunity to explore these questions and to bring examples from their own practice to help debate these themes.

Keywords: Identity, Reflective Practice, Professionalism, Higher Education
Stream: Adult, Vocational, Tertiary and Professional Learning
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English
Paper: , "It Shook Me to the Core"

Simon Lygo-Baker

Lecturer in Higher Education, King's Learning Institute, King's College London
London, London, UK

Sharon Markless

Lecturer in Higher Education, King's Learning Institute, King's College London
London, UK

Ref: L09P0676