Making 'professionalism' meaningful to students in higher education


Wilson A, Akerlind G, Walsh B, Stevens B, Turner B & Shield A (2013) Making 'professionalism' meaningful to students in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 38 (8), pp. 1222-1238.

With rising vocational expectations of higher education, universities are increasingly promoting themselves as preparing students for future professional lives. This makes it timely to ask what makes professionalism meaningful to students. In addressing this question, we first identify aspects of professionalism that might represent appropriate aspirations for higher education, in particular the development of professionalism as a transformational rather than acquisitional process. We then report on an empirical study aimed at examining current students' understandings of professionalism, and identifying what they commonly notice and do not notice about professionalism. Finally, we give examples of curriculum interventions designed by subject convenors in response to these findings.

professionalism; generic skills; graduate attributes; vocational purposes;

Studies in Higher Education: Volume 38, Issue 8

FundersUniversity of Oxford
Publication date31/12/2013
Publication date online18/10/2013
PublisherTaylor & Francis