McGhie, Linda (2017) The identity of Higher Education lecturers in Further Education Colleges. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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This study explores the identity of Higher Education Lecturers in UK Further Education Colleges [HE in FE]. This sector accounts for 8-10% of HE and offers cheaper, local options to students than traditional HE, supporting successive governments’ targets to Widen Participation [WP] and increase skills (Simmons and Lea, 2013). The HE White Paper (DBIS, 2016) suggests continued growth in this area. However, HE in FE may be perpetuating macro-level inequality (Avis and Orr, 2016) and there are calls for HE in FE to be re-defined and raised in profile (Bathmaker, 2016).

Lecturer identity is considered to be significant for emergent student identity (Ashwin, 2009), yet little is known about the background and identity of HE in FE lecturers (Kadi-Hanifi and Elliott, 2016). This research contributes to original knowledge by revealing experiences in background, practices, and relationships, in relation to identity, and it considers potential links to pedagogy.

The qualitative methodology is informed by phenomenology (Smith et al. 2009) and a ‘diagram’ for teacher identity work (Clarke, 2009). Social-constructionist arguments that teachers engage in struggles and create discourses which become realities are central. Thirteen lecturers, from five institutions in North-West England, participated in in-depth, semi-structured interviews and questionnaires. A methodological contribution of this study is the development of a new framework, offering a structured approach for lecturer identity studies.

This study finds participants are fulfilled by working with WP FE students, which these lecturers once were. The lecturers are complicit in creating demanding students, despite struggles with the subsequent workload. There is little motivation to engage in research activity, because it is not rewarded in the FE environment. However, lecturers develop confidence, gain autonomy, and position themselves in order to maintain their coveted degree of freedom. They challenge traditional academic stereotypes, broadening the scope for academic identity (Clegg, 2008).

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Contributors: Waterfield, Jackie (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2017 10:38
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2020 11:56

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