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Title: Constructions of professional identity within UK higher education administration and management : the importance of collective self-confidence
Author: Lewis, Kenton Richard
ISNI:       0000 0004 2735 9152
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2012
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The expansion and specialisation of 'non-academic' higher education roles, in response to increased regulation, monitoring and measurement of the sector, can be attributed to a rise in neoliberal manageralism and globalisation. Such changes have challenged the professional status of the academy, potentially 'de-professionalising' academic staff. This thesis explores the extent to which a concurrent professionalisation of administrative and managerial staff has occurred, and examines the case for higher education administration as a profession. Building on a conceptual framework linking the literatures of 'professionalism' and 'identity' with personal reflections and an examination of the role of the Association of University Administrators (AUA) as a representative body for university administrators, a qualitative analysis was undertaken with six UK higher education institutions, comprising in-depth interviews with 23 administrative/managerial staff. These were augmented by further indepth interviews: two with staff at the AUA; and three with internationally based administrative/managerial staff (two from Canada; one from Holland). The produced data, together with the conceptual framework, facilitated construction of a thematic, analytical model which enabled exploration of nomenclature, behaviours, perception, qualification, status, and structure(s), as elements of constructed professional identity. The findings reveal that higher education administrators/managers possess the necessary tools to construct an identity as a professional, but that they lack the collective selfconfidence to claim university administration as a profession. The study recommends that through the facilitated acquisition of 'academic empathy', increased sectoral and societal visibility, promotion of higher education administration as a career path, and the development of a strong and consistent public voice, it is possible to instil the collective selfconfidence necessary to proudly assert that university administration is a profession.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available