The impact of higher education professionals on university structure

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Jung, Erica J.
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With technological innovations, financial constraints in the education sector, and fewer academic positions available to candidates with various educational qualifications, higher education is going through a major change. Increasing numbers of qualified individuals with graduate degrees find their jobs in academic support positions straddling both the academic and administrative domains. This growing cadre of professionals within a university context faces different challenges in terms of what and how they do the work for the university. The study explores the emergence of higher education professionals (HEPROs), specifically at Teaching and Learning Centres within the Canadian higher education landscape and their impact to the structure of the university. In higher education, the logic of managerialism is competing with the professional logic of academia. It is HEPROs that are filling the gap within the organizational configuration of these two competing logics in Canadian post-secondary education. Using a phenomenological approach, this qualitative inquiry was focused on the experiences of higher education professionals bounded within the context of Teaching and Learning Centres in universities. Findings from this study revealed the challenges that many HEPROs in leadership at Canadian teaching and learning centres encounter as they deal with the tensions that exist in their often hybrid roles – as a professional and management. These findings can inform universities on how to best situate HEPROs and capitalize on their qualifications and abilities to support the operations and structure of our institutions.
higher education professionals, third space, teaching and learning centre