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Title: Learning from the past? : a study of perceptions of academic staff in UK higher education of the longer-term impact of subject review on their professional world
Author: Blythman, Helen Margo
ISNI:       0000 0004 2726 8357
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2004
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This study explores the relationship between the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) subject review (SR), notions of continuing professional development and transformational change in academic staff. In a previous study (Blythman 2001) I explored the immediate experience of SR as perceived by academic staff. The current study examines the longer-term impact on academic staff and their professional world, a complex mix of professional life, knowledge, attitudes, practice, skills and values. I examine through qualitative interviews with 23 academics from11 different institutions whether they perceive SR to have contributed to longer-term changes in their professional world. I explore higher education as a site of conflict based on macro issues of wider social division and micropolitical issues of power and power relations. I offer a detailed reading of particular contexts including the role of agency and a Foucauldian model of the operation of technologies both repressively and creatively. These technologies include academic identity and professionalism, and the operation of power through resources including time. I consider that people experience the world in different ways, contingent on contextualised power relations. The social world is understood through diverse perspectives and this is best captured through the voice of social actors. My main data, therefore, were collected through semi-structured interviews. My study shows that SR had positive aspects for some including increased reflection and deeper pedagogic thinking. Generally, however, the way in which SR was constructed damaged its own stated objectives. This happened through a conflation of information with knowledge, encouraging the hegemony of one model of teaching, diverting resource to second-order activities and encouraging institutional conformity and bureaucratisation. This resulted in institutional and individual behaviour which foregrounded compliance and fabrication. I finish by critically exploring alternatives suggested in current literature and tentatively suggest a future approach.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available