Transforming spaces and identities: the contributions of professional staff to learning spaces in higher education

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 2012, 34 (4), pp. 437 - 452
Issue Date:
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Staff are a university's key resource. Typically, research has concentrated on the contribution of academic staff, and has largely overlooked the crucial role of professional staff. However, recently there has been an increase in research by professional staff, about professional staff. In Australia, professional staff comprise more than half the higher education workforce, and a more rigorous understanding is needed of the contribution that professional staff make towards the strategic goals of their institutions. This paper explores the work of professional staff, focusing on the contributions that this group of staff makes to the design, development and maintenance of learning spaces, both physical and virtual. This research is part of ongoing doctoral research into the work of professional staff at one Australian university. Following a preliminary framing study, a case study was undertaken using semi-structured interviews with a range of professional staff. Emerging from these interviews is a conceptualisation of the work of professional staff in relation to student outcomes, from the perspective of professional staff themselves. This research is illuminating the working lives of professional staff, the changing and increasing complexity of their roles, and the contributions professional staff make to their institution's student outcomes. © 2012 Copyright 2012 Association for Tertiary Education Management and the LH Martin Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Management.
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