The purpose of this event is to provide an opportunity to discuss the experiences of Early Career Teachers [ECTs] in higher education. In the session, Early Career Teachers from higher education institutions from America, Asia, Australia, and Europe will share their personal journeys as teachers. The presenters will share the challenges they faced and the opportunities they were offered when entering a dynamic tertiary education sector as new teachers. The event intends to spotlight contemporary issues, such as precarity, casualisation, fragmentation of academic responsibilities and intersectionality, that shape contemporary ECT workloads. It therefore contributes to our understanding of Higher Education in practice through a focus on this important group of academics, who—with a disproportionate involvement in teaching and learning activities—will continue to shape the sector for years to come. The session is builds on the work undertaken for an edited book entitled, Early Career Teachers in Higher Education: Academics’ International Teaching Journeys 1 recently published by Bloomsbury.
The session will be facilitated by Dr Patrick Baughan, Dr Karen Gravett, Professor Ian Kinchin and Dr Namrata Rao, the conveners for this network, and managed by colleagues at SRHE.
10.00 to 10.10 – Introduction and Virtual Housekeeping Points
10:10 to 10:30 – Session I – Early Career Teachers: An Introduction
Jody Crutchley (Liverpool Hope University, UK) and Zaki Nahaboo (Birmingham City University, UK)
10.30 to 11:00 – Session II – Challenges of National/International Contexts
Jongsung Kim (Hiroshima University, Japan); Mandeep Gill-Sagoo, (King’s College London, UK); Clarissa Carden and Diti Bhattacharya (Griffith University, Australia)
11:00 to 11:10 – Break
11:10 to 11:40– Session III: Disrupting Identities
Erin Pritchard (Liverpool Hope University, UK); Ben Colliver (Birmingham City University, UK); Thomas Larsen (University of Northern Iowa, USA)
11:40 to 12:00 – Session IV: Reflections on the Early Career Teachers’ Journeys: Challenges, Experiences and Strategies
Ann E. Austin (Michigan State University, USA)
12: 00 to 12:30 – Panel Discussion
1 Crutchley, J., Nahaboo, Z. and Rao, N. (2021) Early Career Teachers in Higher Education: Academics’ Teaching Journeys. London: Bloomsbury ISBN 9781350129344
Session I. Early Career Teachers: An Introduction
Jody Crutchley and Zaki Nahaboo
Overview: This introductory session seeks to advance two core ideas. First, the presenters will define the concept of an ECT as a set of dissonant experiences and identities. Second, they will draw attention to the similarities of struggles and opportunities available to these academics within the unique national landscapes that they inhabit. The session will set the scene to help advance our understanding of a significant group of academics who are adaptable, but also vulnerable, to the pressure of constant change.
Session II: Challenges of National/International Contexts
Jongsung Kim, Mandeep Gill-Sagoo and Clarissa Carden & Diti Bhattacharya
Academics have travelled in search of new ideas since ancient times (Hudzik, 2011). The movement of academics across borders has also led to reforms in educational practices (Astiz, Wiseman and Baker, 2002). Yet, these migrant academics are often treated as ‘Cultural Others’, irrespective of their origins or destinations (Turner and Robson, 2008: 10). Whilst disciplinary communities influence academics’ attitudes to learning, teaching and curriculum, these are simultaneously influenced by institutional, regional and national contexts (De Wit and Leask, 2015). Therefore, migrant academics are ‘in a continuous state of “becoming”’ (Uusimaki and Garvis, 2017: 194). Academics may even be required to reconceptualise their teaching identities to position their practices in a pedagogic space that has set and preconceived ideas about teaching practice (Ndemanu, 2016). Such encounters highlight the ‘pedagogic frailty’ of migrant academics (Kinchin, 2017: 4). For Early Career Teachers (ECTs), who are still in the process of conceptualising their teaching identity as new entrants to the profession, the reimagining of their teaching identities when exposed to the new contexts requires considerable resilience. The contributors in this session share their stories of resilience, discomfort, and the negotiations that these academics engaged in as they carved their pedagogic spaces in new national contexts.
Session III: Disrupting Identities
Erin Pritchard, Ben Colliver and Thomas Larsen
The relation between social identity and identification is complex. George Herbert Mead ( 1967) helped reveal that complexity by demonstrating that the self is composed of stories that we tell about ourselves, which are formed by the perceptions others have of us. This helps shape our individuality, for better or worse. Individuals are ascribed descriptions of ability, class, gender, race that are not always of their own choosing. The effect of the label is dependent on its attendant power relations and how these are appropriated. They are situational, becoming more or less salient depending on who we are with or where we are (Törrönen, 2014). Gendered, classed, ableist, and racialised expectations pervade the teaching space, yet not all teachers choose to perform to expected conventions. Disruption marks a break from the anticipated citations of identity in relation to a particular convention. ECTs can break from the habits of authorised and stipulated conventions for being a teacher. This disruptive activity opens new possibilities and guidelines for acting as an ECT. This session seeks to highlight three ways in which individuals can creatively disrupt traditional conceptions of the “ideal teacher”. In turn, they each give new possibilities for being a teacher that interrupt their students’ expectations or reimagine their professional environment.
Session IV: Session IV: Reflections on the Early Career Teachers’ Journeys: Challenges, Experiences and Strategies
Professor Ann E. Austin
Although there is a diversity of factors that can influence the trajectories of ECTs, this group exhibits a striking amount of congruence in experience (Austin et al., 2007: 54). The journeys shared in the previous sessions highlight the degree of commonality in the experiences of ECTs, including the kinds of pressures they face and the opportunities that they have access to. Moreover, ECTs are likely to face a disquieting and important gap between their expected academic career and the reality (Rice et al., 2000). In the concluding session, a panoramic view of the preceding sessions is offered. The session highlights connections across the other sessions to help frame questions that will be useful to attendees considering their own professional journeys as ECTs or to those supporting the career development of early career academics.
Ann E. Austin is a University Distinguished Professor of Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education and the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Education at Michigan State University. Her research and publications concern: academic work, careers, and professional development; organisational change in higher education; doctoral education; and STEM education in higher education. Her recent and current funded projects focus on major organisational change issues in higher education: strategies for creating more inclusive academic workplaces; the preparation of future STEM faculty as effective teachers; reform in teaching evaluation; and the nature and functioning of networks of organisations committed to strengthening undergraduate education.
Diti Bhattacharya is a Resident Adjunct Research Fellow at the Centre for Social and Cultural Research, Griffith University. She received her PhD in Human Geography from the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science in 2019. Her field of expertise includes human and cultural geography, postcolonial geographies, critical heritage and wellbeing studies. She focuses on the various material, affective, sensorial, human and non-human interactions within space, in inquiring how spatial relations function by using assemblage thinking as a conceptual tool.
Clarissa Carden is a Griffith University Postdoctoral Research Fellow whose work explores the intersection of morality and social change, with a particular focus on the lives of young people. She received her PhD in Historical Sociology in 2018. Her broad body of research includes scholarship on the history and present of education in Queensland, grief in virtual worlds and historical juvenile justice. Her current work focuses on the history of juvenile justice in Australia.
Ben Colliver is a Lecturer in Criminology at Birmingham City University. His research interests include hate crime, queer criminology, gender and sexuality. His most recent research projects include ethnographic methods exploring the role of ‘social exclusion’ in LGBTQ venues and the use of geosocial apps to facilitate violence against LGBTQ communities. He has recently published research that explores how transgender identities are constructed in online contemporary debates surrounding ‘gender neutral’ toilets. He is an active member of the British Society of Criminology and is currently a member of the steering group of the British Society of Criminology Hate Crime Network.
Jody Crutchley is a Lecturer in Modern History at Liverpool Hope University. She is a historian of empire, citizenship and education and is particularly interested in the teaching of imperial identities in Britain in the late nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Previously, she worked as a historical researcher on the BBC Radio 4 drama ‘Home Front’ and as a Leverhulme Trust-funded postdoctoral researcher on the 'Faith on the Air' project. She is a co-author of the forthcoming monograph Religious Education in British Broadcasting: A History and was a co-editor of the book Sight, Sound and Text in the History of Education, published by Routledge. Jody is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and Treasurer of the History of Education, UK.
Mandeep Gill Sagoo is a Lecturer in Anatomy in the Department of Anatomy, School of Biomedical Education and the Head of MBBS First Year Assessments at King’s College London. She is also a Visiting Professor and a Member of the Advisory Board at Bharath University, India. Her research is in applied anatomy, innovative teaching and assessments and the relation of these to the cognitive psychology of multimedia learning. She has published widely in Anatomical Sciences Education, Anatomical Science International, Plastic and Aesthetic Research journals, as well as The Journal of Plastination. In 2018, she was a recipient of the King’s College GKT School of Medical Education Excellence Award in Teaching.
Jongsung Kim is Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education at Hiroshima University, Japan, where he teaches social studies methods courses and runs international research projects and student exchange programmes. He is interested in designing interventions that support students and teachers to overcome differences in national myths and to help achieve mutual understanding. Recently, he is working on the ‘Better Social Studies Textbook’ project that aims at creating a cross-cultural sphere where students in different countries communicate with each other’s national discourses. His work is also concerned with themes related to peace education, history education and teaching controversial issues in international settings.
Erin Pritchard is a lecturer in Disability Studies in the School of Social Sciences at Liverpool Hope University and core member of the Centre for Cultural Disability Studies. Her research, which is underpinned by notions of space, focuses on the social and spatial experiences of people with dwarfism within the built environment. Her work has appeared in the Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, the International Journal of Social Research Methodology and Geography Compass. Most recently, she has co-edited a special issue on representations of dwarfism for the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies.
Thomas Larsen is a geographer who explores issues at the interface of nature and society. In December 2018, he earned a PhD in geography from Kansas State University. During the writing of this paper, Thomas neared the end of a temporary position as lecturer and senior research associate for the Department of Geography at Texas State University. From his doctoral studies to the present, he has developed online and in-person courses in physical geography; human geography; world regional geography; jobs, careers, and professional development in geography; and field-based learning in geography. He has ongoing research interests in geographic thought, the Anthropocene, human-environment relations, learning progressions, human development and capabilities, and humanistic geography.
Zaki Nahaboo is a lecturer in Sociology at Birmingham City University. His research current interests are in British imperial citizenship, theories of political subjectivity and multiculturalism. This focus builds upon his doctoral work conducted at The Open University, which formed part of the European Research Council FP7 project ‘Oecumene: Citizenship after Orientalism’. Zaki’s teaching makes the case for understanding the sociological craft beyond its traditional disciplinary boundaries. His teaching is informed by new imperial history, postcolonial criticism and IR theory. Zaki has published in Citizenship Studies, Ethnic and Racial Studies, and Interventions. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Astiz, F., Wiseman, A. W. and Baker, D. P. (2002), ‘Slouching towards decentralisation: consequences of globalisation for curricular control in national education systems’, Comparative Education Review, 46 (1): 66–88.
Austin, A. E., Sorcinelli, M. D. and McDaniels, M. (2007), ‘Understanding New Faculty: Background, Aspirations, Challenges, and Growth’, in R. P. Perry and J. C. Smart (eds), The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: An Evidence-Based Perspective, 39–89, Dordrecht Springer.
De Wit, H. and Leask, B. (2015), ‘Foreword’, in W. Green and C. Whitsed (eds), Critical Perspectives on Internationalising the Curriculum in Disciplines, ix–xv, Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
Hudzik, J. K. (2011), Comprehensive Internationalisation: From Concept to Action, Washington, DC: NAFSA, Association of International Educators.
Kinchin, I. M. and Winstone, N. E. (2017), Pedagogic Frailty and Resilience in the University, Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
Ndemanu, M. T. (2016), ‘Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack of African-Born Professor's Identity in the U.S. Academe’, in C. Hutchison (ed.), Experiences of Immigrant Professors: Cross-Cultural Differences, Challenges, and Lessons for Success, 166–76, New York: Routledge.
Turner, Y. and Robson, S. (2008), Internationalising the University, London: Continuum.
Törrönen, J. (2014), ‘Situational, Cultural and Societal Identities: Analysing subject positions as classifications, participant roles, viewpoints and interactive positions’, Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 44 (1): 80–98.
Uusimaki, L. and Garvis, S. (2017), ‘Travelling academics: The lived experience of academics moving across countries’, Higher Education Research & Development, 36 (1), 187–200. doi:10.1080/07294360.2016.1178217.
Please note the session is based on the recently published book by Bloomsbury, details below:
Crutchley, J., Nahaboo, Z. and Rao, N. (2021) Early Career Teachers in Higher Education: Academics’ Teaching Journeys. London: Bloomsbury ISBN 9781350129344