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Tales of adventure and change: academic staff members' future visions of higher education and their professional development needs

Belinda Tynan (Based at the Faculty of the Professions, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia)
Mark J.W. Lee (Based at the School of Education, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 15 May 2009




The purpose of this paper is to explore future consciousness, in particular the desire for adventure and change, in light of the literature and ideas around academic development in higher education teaching and learning, and with a particular focus on supporting staff in their engagement with technologies in new ways.


The article builds on and extends recent work by the authors Barnes and Tynan; and Tynan, Lee and Barnes, as well as that of other researchers and theorists. A case study approach is adopted, in which the narratives or “stories” of academics at an Australian university relating to issues surrounding learning technologies are analysed. The themes that emerge from the preliminary analysis are synthesised to draw out barriers and potential solutions from the participants' perspectives, especially with regard to their self‐identified future professional development needs, and particularly in relation to their adoption and sustainable use of educational technologies.


The authors believe that successfully engaging with the goals of innovation and sustainable futures in the age of Web 2.0, the networked society and the millennial learner depends on a concerted effort at all levels of the tertiary/higher education sector.

Research implications/implications

While the preliminary findings of the study may have limitations in terms of their generalisability to institutions and countries beyond the context of the case study, they will no doubt provide a starting point for further research.


It is hoped that the study will serve as a think piece for educational leaders interested in facilitating long‐term initiatives and strategies aimed at cultivating a desire for change and adventure among academic staff, to “reinforce proactive behavior, self‐efficacy, and internal locus of control” in encouraging them to engage with their own futures.



Tynan, B. and Lee, M.J.W. (2009), "Tales of adventure and change: academic staff members' future visions of higher education and their professional development needs", On the Horizon, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 98-108.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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