Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Fifth International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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Negotiated professional identities of academics in the context of structural reform and innovation at the university
Meril Ümarik, Larissa Jõgi

Last modified: 25-06-2019


This paper discusses the results of a qualitative narrative study that focuses on academics´ professional identity and teaching practice at the university during the structural reform at Tallinn University, Estonia. The aim of the research is to understand how professional identity is formed in relation to the development of teaching practice in the frame of interdisciplinary projects introduced as an innovation at the university. The central research question is: How does the continuously changing university context, suggested teaching approaches and innovative projects affect professional identity, beliefs, and teaching practice of academics? The empirical data consists of 48 narrative interviews with academics from different study fields. The empirical data was analyzed using qualitative content analysis with narrative coding. The presented narratives indicate that on the institutional level the entrepreneurial cultures are more visible than collegial cultures. On the individual level there are slow, but meaningful changes in teaching practices, as well as beliefs, understandings and professional identities of academics.

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