‘Are they ready to fly?’ Flying faculty preparedness and professional learning: an exploratory study of transnational education staff perspectives
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AuthorsWhieldon, Joan Ann
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThe international mobility of higher education institutions and courses is increasing exponentially. In 2016–17, there were 707,915 students on UK degrees outside the UK with 1.6 times more students now on UK degree programmes offshore than there are international students based at universities in the UK. They are referred to as ‘glocals’ – students having global aspirations with local experiences. Transnational education takes a number of forms, one of which involves UK academic staff working as ‘flying faculty’ offshore. This requires a tutor flying to a host country, delivering the programme of study intensively and then flying out, returning to the awarding institution in the UK. This study examines the impact of these short-term teaching sojourns by staff and their ‘lived lives’ at the pre-, during- and post-delivery stages. The study investigates what training or preparation takes place and whether the challenges and opportunities of undertaking the work of flying faculty affects them personally and/or professionally. There is also consideration of their future development needs. Six staff from two universities were interviewed as part of this research using the biographical narrative interpretive method (BNIM), supported by a focus group of twelve participants originally involved as part of a project supported by the Higher Education Academy. This wide demographic provided a significant representation of the sector with flying faculty experience ranging from zero to fifteen years. Conclusions which evolved from this study are authoritative since they emanate from experts in the field, with participant samples identified as typical. Results demonstrate that preparation and on-going support for this pedagogical practice is ad hoc, informal and of uncertain design leading to significant apprehensions for staff. A lack of focus by UK higher education institutions on the personal and pedagogic needs of flying faculty subverts any Maslowian aspirational achievements. In spite of continuing rapid growth in this area of education, there is no structured training, development or support for those staff involved. The intention of this study is to provide a starting point for higher education institutions to move forward, encouraged by regulatory, fiscal and personnel incentives. The design of personal and pedagogically structured preparation, support and development for flying faculty in the future would represent a positive paradigm shift in the way that flying faculty are prepared, developed and perceived. The results of the study should be recognised as a contribution to knowledge engendering the need for change.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the Degree of Doctorate in Education
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