Rethinking Professional Development in Higher Education

Christopher DENEEN
The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand


Abstract This roundtable will allow participants to engage with critical issues around professional development (PD) in higher education through the lens of a practice perspective. Core topics to be explored are the relationship of PD to academic identity, locations of power in change agency, and relationship of staff engagement to local and global context. This exploration will begin with an introduction to a practice perspective, followed by discussion among participants in and around core topic areas.

PD is recognized as extraordinarily high-value, yet models of engagement often fall short of identified goals. PD is often facilitated through central units operating under institutional mission imperatives, that establish relationships with departments and individual academics. There is some evidence of efficacy for this model (e.g. Gibbs & Coffey, 2004; Trigwell, Caballero-Rodriguez & Han, 2012). Limitations, however especially in terms of scale and situational relevance outweigh demonstrable benefits (Deneen & Boud, 2013). Emerging evidence suggests that adopting a practice perspective may enhance the efficacy and focus of PD. Practice perspective may best be understood through six interactive areas: embodiment, material mediation, relationality, situatedness, emergence and co-construction (Boud & Brew, 2013).

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