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WIHEA Seminar: The Rise of Third Space Professionals

A session reviewing the changing roles and identities of academic and professional staff in higher education, with specific reference to those working in teaching and learning environments. Drawing on case material arising from two studies funded by the UK Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, involving 70 interviews in nine institutions in the UK, US and Australia. The concept of Third Space professionals – people who work betweceliaen academic and professional domains - will be explained and illustrated through specific examples. Such individuals are often appointed on basis of experience in, for instance, academic literacy, programme design, educational technology and pedagogic research; are likely to have, or to be acquiring, master’s degrees and doctorates; and to contribute to the literature on teaching and learning. They also represent an increasingly diverse workforce characterised by movement in and out of higher education, partnership working, and a blurring of boundaries between what are traditionally seen as academic and professional roles. Finally the session considered the spaces, knowledges, relationships and legitimacies that characterise Third Space professionals, and the implications of these for both individuals and institutions.

Dr Celia Whitchurch is Associate Professor in higher education at University College London Institute of Education. She teaches on the MBA in Higher Education, MA in Higher and Professional Education, and Doctor of Education programmes. Her research interests focus on academic and professional identities in higher education and changing workforce patterns.