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Continuing Professional Development in Higher Education Academics as teachers, learners, members of learning communities. Karin Crawford University of Lincoln Overview of presentation.

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Continuing Professional Development in Higher EducationAcademics as teachers, learners, members of learning communities

Karin Crawford

University of Lincoln

overview of presentation
Overview of presentation

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in Higher Education (HE)

  • Context…
    • A little about me and my interest in CPD;
    • A little about the research project;
  • My ‘desk research’ and initial investigations…
    • The context of CPD in HE – national and organisational;
    • Challenges and tensions (and some opportunities ).

Karin Crawford

about me
About me . . . .
  • An academic; a researcher; a University of Lincoln teaching fellow;
  • Personal journey from professional and managerial experience to academia;
  • CPD and lifelong learning – earlier research.

Karin Crawford

current research project
Current research project
  • Developing an understanding of the influences on the CPD practices of academics in HE;
  • Multi-case study - qualitative research ;
  • Set in context of change, competing demands and expectations;
  • Offers a voice for academics and staff developers;
  • Opportunity to influence approaches to CPD in institutions.

Karin Crawford

research design and process
Research design and process
  • Data collection through; focus groups; semi-structured interviews (with academics and key personnel); and documentary analysis;
  • Case studies from ‘old’ and ‘new’ universities – individual participants identified within cases through theoretical sampling with attention to key variables; gender; length of academic experience; disciplinary focus; contractual tenure; and professional CPD status;
  • Project is being managed using qualitative data analysis software.

Karin Crawford

national context of cpd in he
National context of CPD in HE
  • A focus on CPD and the enhancement of the quality of teaching;
  • Professional Standards Framework for teaching and supporting learning in HE (HEA 2006);
  • The Higher Education Academy Professional Recognition Scheme.

‘…good-quality teaching for everyone…(by)…staff that are trained to teach and continue to develop professionally…’ (DfES 2003: 49)

Karin Crawford

national context of cpd in he continued
National context of CPD in HE/continued. . .
  • New ‘Professional Standards for teachers, tutors and trainers in the lifelong learning sector’;
  • The 14-19 agenda (DfES 2005) and the Leitch Review (2006);
  • Quality audit processes – Quality Assurance Agency (;
  • Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) supporting ‘institutions in enhancing the quality of their learning and teaching’ (

‘Reflection and evaluation of their own practice and their continuing professional development as teachers’(LLUK 2007: 3)

Karin Crawford

organisational context
Organisational context…
  • HE as established providers of CPD for others …….BUT..
  • …HE is less developed in provision of CPD for own staff (Clegg 2003);
  • Staff development organised very differently in different institutions;
      • Issues of location;
      • Issues of status;
  • There is seemingly no one way of facilitating or providing CPD in HE;
  • Complex range of approaches; cultures; priorities; beliefs; and actions – impacting on staff developers, institutions and individual academics.

Karin Crawford

challenges and tensions
Challenges and tensions
  • Contradictions; ‘dualisms’; ‘fault lines’ (Clegg 2003: 37);
  • What constitutes CPD?
  • Academic and professional identity;
      • Teaching-Research;
      • Competing loyalties and priorities;
      • Accountability and evidence-based practice;
  • Complexity of academic role;
  • Whose goals and whose needs?

Karin Crawford

what constitutes cpd
What constitutes CPD?
  • Formal or informal learning? The iceberg analogy - ‘not all professional knowings are explicit’(Knight 2006: 31);
  • As well as accredited courses - CPD can be seen as arising from personal scholarship and normal working activities (Becher 1999, Clegg 2003);
  • How will arguably increasing external demands, e.g. implementation of the standards frameworks impact on this debate?

Karin Crawford

academic identity academic tribes
Academic identity –‘academic tribes’

‘’. . .two academic tribes – those who prioritize research within their career, and those who tend to prioritize teaching’ (Ramsden cited in Trigwell and Shale 2004: 523)

  • Research – Teaching Nexus;
  • Traditionally perceived disproportionate status;
  • Professional standards focus on teaching and learning;
  • Drives to embed research informed teaching;
  • Drives to redress the balance by enhancing the status of quality teaching and learning in institutions;
  • Significant implications for CPD – for institutions and individuals (Clegg, 2003).

Karin Crawford

academic identity loyalties and priorities
Academic identity – loyalties and priorities

Academics situated in many ‘communities of practice’ (Wenger 1998) therefore potentially different . . . .

  • Discourses;
  • understandings of CPD;
  • CPD requirements;
  • professional histories;
  • Priorities;
  • approaches to academic practice.

Karin Crawford

issues of accountability and evidence based practice
Issues of accountability and evidence-based practice
  • Professional accountability;
  • Evidencing CPD activity;
      • meaningful and useful? OR
      • jumping through hoops?
  • Debate between external accountability and academic autonomy – institutional regulation and academic self-regulation (Dill, 2005).

Karin Crawford

the academic role
The academic role

‘…the academic role is in flux’

(Blackmore and Blackwell 2003: 19)

  • Traditional role of teaching, researching and administration;
  • Changing expectations – a wider range of tasks and responsibilities;
  • Subject ‘expert’? Teaching and learning ‘expert’? Research ‘expert’? Leader & Manager? All of these things? Something else?
  • Many different forms of ‘tenure’ – part-time, hourly, ‘guest’, ‘visiting’…
  • Changing meaning of the term ‘academic’ - different meanings across different institutions and functions.

Karin Crawford

cpd whose goals and needs
CPD – whose goals and needs?
  • Relationship between needs of the institution and needs of the academic;
  • Tension in whose goals are to be met and who is responsible;
  • Potential disparity between policy rhetoric and policy achievement (Field 2002);
  • A lack of consensus on meaning and scope of CPD.
  • the core tension in this relationship is that between those needs for the continuity of the work practice and individuals’ needs to realise their personal or vocational goals’(Billett 2002: 56)

Karin Crawford

  • Changing structures, policies, strategies in institutions;
  • The opportunity to ‘take ownership’ as academics drive ‘a combination of top-down and bottom-up strategies…’ (Zuber-Skerritt 1992: 192 italics in original);
  • Considering how to involve the students of the university in CPD for staff (various best practice examples exist…);
  • Acknowledge and value the challenges and tensions – enter the debate..
  • Value difference across disciplines – but share good practice – ‘mainstream’ CPD.

Karin Crawford

  • The purpose of this research project is to offer the opportunity to;
    • Listen to the views, experiences and needs of academics in respect of CPD;
    • Further insight into pertinent, contemporary issues of CPD in academia;
    • Develop knowledge about how the learning journeys of academics are influenced;
    • Understand how academics interpret, value and make decisions about CPD;
    • Draw upon the perspectives of those with responsibilities to support CPD – to give context.

Karin Crawford

presentation summary
Presentation Summary
  • Challenges and opportunities;
  • Reflection on own practices;
  • Opportunity for debate.

‘..problematising our conceptions of continuing professional development can open up space for debate’(Clegg 2003: 37)

Karin Crawford


Thank you for listening !

For any further information – visit my web pages at

or email me

Karin Crawford


Becher, T. (1999) Professional Practices: Commitment and capability in a changing environment New Jersey: Transaction Publishers

Billett, S. R. (2002) ‘Critiquing workplace learning discourses: Participation and continuity at work’ Studies in the Education of Adults 34 (1) 56-67

Blackwell, R. and Blackmore, P. (2003) ‘Rethinking strategic staff development’ in R. Blackwell and P. Blackmore (Eds)Towards Strategic Staff Development in Higher Education’ pp3-15

Clegg, S. (2003) ‘Problematising Ourselves: Continuing Professional Development in Higher Education’ International Journal for Academic Development Vol 8, No. 1/2 pp.37-50

Department for Education and Skills (DfES) (2003) The future of higher education The Stationery Office

Department for Education and Skills (DfES) (2005) 14-19 Education and Skills Nottingham: DfES publications

Dill, D. D. (2005) ‘The Degradation of the Academic Ethic: Teaching, Research and the Renewal of Professional Self-Regulation’ in R. Barnett (Ed) (2005) Reshaping the University: New Relationships between Research, Scholarship and Teaching Berkshire: Open University Press

Karin Crawford

references continued
References Continued/….

Field, J (2002) ‘Governing the ungovernable: why lifelong learning policies promise so much yet deliver so little’ in R. Edwards, N. Miller, N. Small and A. Tait (Eds) Supporting Lifelong Learning Volume 3, Making Policy Work. London: Routledge

Higher Education Academy (HEA) (2006) The UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and supporting learning in higher

Knight, P. (2006) ‘Quality Enhancement and Educational Professional Development’ Quality in Higher Education Vol 12 (1) p.29-40

Leitch, S. (2006) Leitch Review of skills – Prosperity for All in the Global Economy: World Class Skills Norwich: HMSO

LLUK (2007) New overarching professional standards for teachers, tutors and trainers in the lifelong learning sector

Trigwell, K. and Shale, S. (2004) ‘Student learning and the scholarship of university teaching’ Studies in Higher Education Vol 29, No.4. pp524-525

Wenger, E. (1998) Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identify Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Zuber-Skerritt, O. (1992) Professional Development in Higher Education London: Kogan Page

Karin Crawford