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The ethos and transformational nature of professional studies: A study of student experience in Australia

Lee Fergusson (University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia)
Luke Van Der Laan (University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia)
Craig White (University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia)
June Balfour (University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia)

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Article publication date: 3 May 2019

Issue publication date: 20 September 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the work-based learning (WBL) ethos of a professional studies doctoral program, a higher degree by research program implemented in Australia.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a preliminary case study of one higher degree by research program and two doctoral candidates participating in the program to explore the ethos and outcomes of the program.

Findings

The program has sought to develop a different type of higher education ethos, one characterized by an open-door communications policy, a critical friend philosophy, an emphasis on teamwork, pro tem supervision and a new model for doctoral supervision, self-designed work-based projects, self-directed research programs and the development of professional identity.

Originality/value

The characteristics and contributions of WBL programs at the doctoral level have been well documented in the academic literature, but the unique ethos, if there is one, of such programs has yet to be fully examined. This study goes some of the way to answering the question of whether such programs have a unique ethos and if so what are its features and how might it contribute to student development.

Keywords

Citation

Fergusson, L., Van Der Laan, L., White, C. and Balfour, J. (2019), "The ethos and transformational nature of professional studies: A study of student experience in Australia", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 9 No. 4, pp. 695-711. https://doi.org/10.1108/HESWBL-01-2019-0006

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited