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Title: The role of networks in supporting academics' professional development and change in teaching practice
Author: Pataraia, Nino
ISNI:       0000 0004 5359 2097
Awarding Body: Glasgow Caledonian University
Current Institution: Glasgow Caledonian University
Date of Award: 2014
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This exploratory study comprising two phases examines the role of networks in academics' professional learning about teaching and changes in extant teaching practices. The importance of networks for professional development, provision of support and enhancement of teaching practices is well documented in compulsory educational settings. However, there is limited empirical evidence on with whom academics cultivate their significant connections, and also how they capitalise on network benefits for their professional development. Drawing on the combination of Social Network Analysis and semi-structured interviews, this study investigates the social structure, processes and value of academics' personal networks relating to teaching. Study participants represent a wide range of disciplines and institutions, enabling comparisons of networking practices across academics with different educational backgrounds and experience levels. Findings show that participating academics have the tendency to forge physically-proximate and strong-tie learning and advice-seeking connections. The proportion of boundary-crossing connections is higher in academics' learning networks than in their advice-seeking networks. High proportion of external connections suggests better learning opportunities and potential for innovations in teaching within the participants' personal learning networks. Moreover, networks of experienced, rather than of novice and mid-career, participants reveal more diversity, pointing to the optimal network value. In summary, personal networks support development of different aspects of teaching, facilitation of changes in teaching and also provision of professional and emotional support. This investigation adds to limited empirical research reporting academics' learning through networks, emphasising the significance and relevance of informal relationships for professional development and practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available