Agent Academic: Towards an understanding of experiences in innovative practice for evolving academia

Wilkinson, Helene ORCID: 0000-0002-7579-4314
(2022) Agent Academic: Towards an understanding of experiences in innovative practice for evolving academia. Doctor of Education thesis, University of Liverpool.

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The academic climate is challenging on so many levels arising from the research-teaching nexus, changes amongst the student body, appointments and distribution of resourcing, and an increasingly complex digitally connected world. To this extent, an innovative lens is necessary for evolving educational practice. It contributes to alternative perspectives in teaching and learning that ultimately seek to provide more effective means of doing so. Irrespective of its locale, novel and innovative educational solutions can advance knowledge and acquisition for learning, accreditation, and socialisation. Innovative practice is essential in higher education, but how does it evolve, and what contributes to this? This research aims to explore this practice of innovativeness through the lens of individual academics and develop an understanding of alternative approaches in higher education and the processes and influences in that journey. How might an account of different experiences within higher education contribute to evolving ways of academic practice? How might this benefit higher education? Assuming alternative experiences in evolving innovative practice exist, I used an interpretive phenomenological approach (IPA) to explore the phenomenon at an international level, including multiple disciplines, institutions, and locations. In addition, 15 online interviews with self-declared innovative practitioners were conducted via ZOOM. An existing innovation framework was used to design the interview schedule and lend structure to the investigation. Inductive and deductive analysis revealed key themes aligned with the individual, innovation, processes, and influences shaping new practice. Academics, regardless of context, innovate in different ways. However, agency is revealed as critical to innovative practice and innovating, irrespective of the outcome. This study proposes extending the original framework to recognising recognise agency, awareness, and motivation as antecedents to achieving innovation. Enabling academics to develop high levels of agency alongside a culture of innovativeness can contribute to academia's sustainability in evolving meaningful practice. Furthermore, acknowledging agency has implications for how individual academics are managed, developed, and led, such that they can cultivate an agency that aligns with educational needs in this changing world. This study provides additional insights into variables and conditions for innovative practice and directions for future research. Keywords: Agency, innovative practice, ways of innovating, innovation, culture of innovativeness, evolving innovative practice, innovation process, conditions for innovative practice

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Education)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2022 07:54
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 20:57
DOI: 10.17638/03156570
  • Kop, Rita
  • Edwards, Anthony
  • Ivancheva, Mariya