ERIC Number: EJ1023962
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Abstractor: As Provided
Professional Development and the University Casual Academic: Integration and Support Strategies for Distance Education
Higgins, Katrina; Harreveld, R. E.
Distance Education, v34 n2 p189-200 2013
Professional development is imperative for the currency and relevancy of a proficient teaching workforce in distance education, and in turn, the quality of programs being delivered. As participation in distance education within Australian universities is growing, with increasing numbers of academics being required to teach, casual employment of academic staff is often undertaken. As a consequence, casual academics now undertake significant amounts of university teaching loads. In addition, although employed on a casual basis, casual academics often have ongoing relationships with the university, spanning more than one teaching period and in some cases, even years. Professional development is crucial to ensure the replenishment and vivacity of the university, its academics and students. Consequently, the goal of this constructivist grounded theoretical study was to explore the experiences of casual distance education academics, from which professional development emerged as a key theme. Twelve casual academics from a regional university discussed their work experiences through an in-depth semistructured interview. The findings revealed that distance education casual academics accessed a range of formal and informal professional development opportunities. Informal professional development included mentoring, which casual academics highly valued. Formal professional development activities provided by the university were also noted; however, casual academics were sometimes unaware that these existed. Finally, recommendations regarding successful professional development programs for casual academics are given, with particular emphasis on an Early Career Education Research group that operates at the university and is open to all staff.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Faculty Development, Distance Education, Adjunct Faculty, Grounded Theory, Semi Structured Interviews, Mentors, Colleges, Teacher Role, Interpersonal Relationship, Work Experience, Qualitative Research
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A