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Title: A study into perceptions of professionalism for lecturers in one Further Education college in the South West
Author: Ostapenko-Denton, A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7962 9804
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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This research considers professionalism amongst lecturers in one Further Education (FE) college in the South West. Arguing that FE is quantifiably different from other settings, eight participants took part in semi-structured interviews. As a sector, FE is constantly undergoing changes (LLUK, 2010; TDA, 2012; Lingfield, 2012). Consideration of what professionalism means in FE is a growing, but still sparsely researched subject (Jephcote, Salisbury & Rees, 2008; Stoten, 2013), further confused by the broad nature of FE itself (Coffield, Edward, Finlay, Hodges, Spours and Steer, 2008). Goodson & Hargreaves' (1996) taxonomy of post-modern professionalism was a framework to the consideration of professionalism and closest to my own ontology and epistemology at the outset. Participants were selected who shared the three 'lenses' of time, place and language with me (Cohen, Kahn & Steeves, 2000a), attempting to achieve deep, qualitative data (Kvale, 2007, Kvale & Brinkmann, 2009). After each interview was transcribed, it was returned to the participant. A follow-up interview was then held where they changed the transcript to ensure more accurate meaning. This aimed to achieve the shared negotiated meaning sought in hermeneutics, but within the confines of this research (Young & Collin 1988; Collin & Young, 1988; Cohen et al 2000a; Flick, 2007b). Six categories emerged with two prominent themes; gender and liquid supercomplexity. Initial analysis suggested that the male and female participants thought and behaved differently; the follow-up interviews indicated they often used different words for similar meanings. Although the complex nature of gender was highlighted throughout and as an issue for all participants, the extent and reality of it differed for each (Murray, 2006; Noel, 2006; Gunter, 2000) and it was overshadowed by the findings on supercomplexity. Barnett (2000a) suggests the university is a supercomplexity, something so complex that it can not be solved; researching it adds to the problem. Participants expressed this dynamic of FE and, although they did not use the term, there was enormous links with supercomplexity (Barnett, 2000a; Barnett, 2011). HE in FE lecturers explained that they were having to deal with not only the supercomplexity of FE but also that of HE. This I term 'liquid supercomplexity', adding in the notion of liquid modernity suggested by Bauman (2000) and I conclude it is the reality for my HE in FE participants. Barnett (2011: 109) suggests one future for the university is becoming a 'liquid university'. I conclude that this role has already been taken; HE in FE professionals are stuck between the supercomplex university 'rock' struggling with change and the supercomplex FE college 'hard place' where change and flux is situation normal and professionalism must adapt.
Supervisor: Robinson, W. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Professionalism ; Further Education ; Supercomplexity