Early Career Academics, ePortfolios and Professional Development

Misty KIRBY
University of Canberra, Australia
misty.kirby@canberra.edu.au

Anita COLLINS
University of Canberra, Australia
anita.collins@canberra.edu.au

Abstract

There is a growing body of literature around using portfolios and ePortfolios in teacher education, occupational therapy, engineering and nursing. However, scant literature exists on using ePortfolios in Higher Education for professors’ scholarship and career development.

Given the shortage of academics in Australia, as well as the plummeting job satisfaction ratings, often because of large teaching loads and not enough time to research, academics, particularly early career academics, need tools to assist in both short and long term career planning and development.

Many new early career academics enter the profession having already achieved status in another career. Universities would do well to nurture and develop this new crop of academics, many of whom have managed teams and projects prior to entering academia, thus making these academics natural leaders for the future of higher education in a globalized world.

Findings from this study included academics’ higher self efficacy and agency to their careers and their institution. Using ePortfolios as a strategic tool to manage an academic's multi-dimensional work enables academics to understand who they are in relation to the fields in which they operate, as well as their own institutional contexts. Future work will involve other faculties as they develop their own templates to tell their own professional stories.

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