Who do you talk to about your teaching?' Networking activities among university teachers

Pataraia, Nino; Falconer, Isobel; Margaryan, Anoush; Littlejohn, Allison and Fincher, Sally (2014). Who do you talk to about your teaching?' Networking activities among university teachers. Frontline Learning Research, 2(2) pp. 4–14.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14786/flr.v2i2.89


As the higher education environment changes, there are calls for university teachers to change and enhance their teaching practices to match. Networking practices are known to be deeply implicated in studies of change and diffusion of innovation, yet academics’ networking activities in relation to teaching have been little studied. This paper extends the current limited understanding, building on Roxå and Mårtensson’s work (2009) and extending it from Sweden to the UK and USA. It is based on two separate studies, one from the Share Project led by the University of Kent, and one from Glasgow Caledonian University, exploring the composition of personal networks, and the characteristics of interactions in order to understand the networking practices which may support change of teaching practice. We conclude that academics’ personal teaching networks are mainly discipline-specific and strongly localised. This contrasts with the research networks found by Becher and Trowler (2001) and may reduce innovation, although about half the respondents also had external contacts that might support creativity.

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