Teacher Fellow accreditation – a madrigal of voices! But is it the right tune? Tensions of standardisation, engagement and neoliberalism

Hazel Kershaw-Solomon (Governance, Leadership and People Development, Faculty of Business and Law, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK)
Nick Beech (Governance, Leadership and People Development, Faculty of Business and Law, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK)
Jeff Gold (Department of Business, Business School, York Saint John University, York, UK)
Julia Claxton (Governance, Leadership and People Development, Faculty of Business and Law, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK)
Tricia Auty (Governance, Leadership and People Development, Faculty of Business and Law, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK)
Susan Beech (Governance, Leadership and People Development, Faculty of Business and Law, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK)

European Journal of Training and Development

ISSN: 2046-9012

Publication date: 13 November 2020

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact competency frameworks as standardisation can have on the employee engagement of academic staff within higher education (HE) through their employment as managerial tools.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review is conducted from which the conditions for effective competency frameworks are evaluated and the influence of changes in the HE environment in the form of political agendas and tight resources are explored.

Findings

This paper provides insights into the dynamics of public service modernisation and the tensions between the dominant discourse of managerialism and the degree of agency afforded to professional academics. It highlights the relevance of informal peer relationships in setting the climate to generate collegial bonding and professional engagement that underpin successful teacher fellowship accreditations. It further highlights the key role managers play in this process and provides a conceptual framework highlighting the dynamics and combined effect of employee engagement and competency frameworks set within complex HE environment.

Practical implications

This paper brings together the prerequisites for effective implementation of competency frameworks to implement successful employee engagement strategies set within the complexities of the HE context, which has not been studied to date. Armed with such insights, Human Resource Development (HRD) departments and universities can implement competency assessments that generate greater staff engagement.

Originality/value

The paper provides a critical approach in reviewing the impact of Continued Professional Development and its link to professional status and thus helps British Universities and others to understand how the mechanisms at work affect engagement levels of academic staff. Armed with this depth of understanding of how the change initiative works, with whom and under what circumstances, universities will be better able to meet target UK Professional Standards Framework membership levels required by the higher education academy (HEA) and, subsequently, the HEA to meet their targets for the government.

Keywords

Citation

Kershaw-Solomon, H., Beech, N., Gold, J., Claxton, J., Auty, T. and Beech, S. (2020), "Teacher Fellow accreditation – a madrigal of voices! But is it the right tune? Tensions of standardisation, engagement and neoliberalism", European Journal of Training and Development, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJTD-04-2020-0067

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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