Development of the innovative teaching-self in two dual intensive universities.

Stephen Holmes

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

31 Downloads (Pure)


The last couple of decades have witnessed a great emphasis on creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, with higher education institutions “demanding” innovation or claiming that innovation takes place (Gilbert et al., 2020). Research has seen a resurgence of interest in innovative teaching and learning in higher education. High-quality teaching in the tertiary sector has become essential in maximising student learning.

University teacher identities are manufactured from what they do, their work, their practices, and the context they work in. This research focuses on how thirty-eight innovative university teachers who have been awarded a teaching prize at a local or national level, been commended for innovation, or have a genuine interest in innovation, in the academic year 2019-2020 develop their professional identities, perceive, interpret, and characterise themselves in their daily teaching lives at two English teaching and research-intensive universities, Millfield-U and Causeway-U.

A qualitative case study using visualisations (drawings) was adopted as a lens for exploring the core narrative, representations, and manifestations of innovative university teacher identity bringing ‘form to the formless’ (Bauman, 2013, p.82); outwardly trapping self-evoking reflections, and revealing the narrative understanding of teacher professional identity showing the emerging complexity of university teachers and aspects of teacher thinking around identity.

The data analysis used in this inquiry combines Braun & Clarke’s (2006) thematic analysis for the textual data element and Jungian focal points for drawings.
The findings underpin how visualisations (drawings) add value to the conversations with innovative university teachers. Drawings connect the sub-identities of the self and demonstrate agency. The use of pictorial representations uncovered the professional roles of teachers in a highly marketised sector and demonstrated that many participants felt detached from their institutions and academic disciplines. The innovative teachers in this inquiry were constrained by time pressures, student numbers, increased workloads, and the lack of recognition within the role and academic discipline, all of which are part of the neoliberal agenda (Taberner, 2018).
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Jashapara, Ashok, Supervisor
  • Deem, Rosemary, Supervisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date1 Nov 2022
Publication statusUnpublished - 2022


  • identitity
  • professional identity
  • innovative
  • working conditions

Cite this