Academic development as educational inquiry? Insights from established practices

Authors: van Hattum-Janssen, Natascha; Morgado, José Carlos; Vieira, Flávia

Source: The International Journal for Academic Development, Volume 17, Number 1, 1 March 2012 , pp. 33-45(13)

Publisher: Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group

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If academic development is to contribute to (re)shaping the purposes and means of pedagogy in higher education, then it has to be based on educational inquiry, for only inquiry will allow us to undertake a critical analysis of educational policies, practices and beliefs with the goal of transforming them. However, the conditions under which academic development units (ADUs) operate may hinder rather than foster educational inquiry. This is the issue we explore in this paper on the basis of a small-scale, interview-based study that was conducted in six well-established ADUs at universities in the USA. By looking at how these units work, we gained insights into paradoxes and tensions that seem to indicate that educational inquiry cannot play a significant role within them, even though these units act as catalysts for the enhancement of teaching in the academic milieu. We should ask whether ADUs are appropriate sites for educational inquiry and whether they can contribute to (re)shaping the higher education landscape.

Keywords: academic development; educational inquiry; pedagogical vision; research; scholarship of teaching and learning

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Centre for Research in Education, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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