Exploring the Transition into Academia through Collaborative Self-Study

Aug. 01, 2011

Source: Studying Teacher Education, Vol. 7, No. 2, August 2011, 171–181
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

In this collaborative self-study, the authors were interested to examine their own transition from doctoral students to assistant professors.

Data Collection
Data were collected between March 2009 and January 2010.
The data collection period reflects a time of transition for both authors:
The first author defended his PhD thesis in April 2009 and began his first year as an assistant professor in July 2009 at University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) in Canada.
The second author successfully completed his first year as an assistant professor in July 2009 at Duquesne University.


Data revealed three turning points highlight the impact of the authors' new roles on all aspects of their practice as teacher educators and their thinking about teaching and teachers.

The first turning point is "I thought teaching was my strength?".
This turning point speaks to how the authors were challenged to reframe what counts as quality teaching in the academy.

The second turning point is "Who am I? Who is dictating the terms?".
It revealed the authors' feeling that it is important to be strategic about the research they conduct to ensure sufficient opportunities for publication.
They realized just how aware they had become of the external constraints imposed on them as researchers.

Finally, the third turning point, "Excel at everything", was an expression of the pressure the authors felt to do an outstanding job at each of the three components of their roles: teaching, research, and service.


The authors conclude that their collaborative self-study helped them to understand better the turning points in their evolution as teacher educator-researchers.
It has also acted as a catalyst to help the authors reframe their identity as researchers who teach teachers.

The findings indicate that collaborative self-study between two beginning academics provides a lens through which it is possible to name and interpret the challenges of constructing identities during the period of initial socialization into the academy.

Updated: Dec. 10, 2013