Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Career Development in Academia: The Dynamics of Culture, Agency and Identity

Ismi Arif Ismail.

Career may reflect individual’s perception of who they are (Collin & Young, 2000). Career development works towards the construction of identity. Research on academic career in higher education has given equal attention on the issue of nature versus nurture (Becher & Trowler, 2001). In other words, higher education researchers ask the question “Is it that particular kinds of people choose certain sorts of disciplines and bring particular things with them, or is it rather that disciplines shape and condition their adherents into becoming particular kinds of people” (Becher & Trowler, 2001: 131). This is closely related to the dynamics of culture, agency and identity. Early literatures on higher education (Crane, 1972; Clark, 1987, cited in Becher & Trowler, 2001) favour the environment in the form of academic culture whereas (Huber 1990; Thomas, 1990; Greed, 1991; Tierney, 1997; Valimaa, 1998 cited in Becher & Trowler, 2001) give more preference to the academics as sculptors of their own academic identity. Apparently, (Prichard 1999, 2000; Parker 2000) highlight the dialectical construction between the two, which make it more dynamical (Becher and Trowler, 2001). Informed by the biographical research tradition, this paper explored academics' career development through their life events and experiences. It studied 10 academics from 10 various departments at a university by situating these individuals within their academic and career history. The findings of the study may benefit academics in “conserving their identities in the face of competing values and agendas” (Ketteridge et al, 2002;76).


Ismi Arif Ismail  (United Kingdom)
Department of Professional Development and Continuing Education, Faculty of Educational Studies
Universiti Putra Malaysia

Ismi Arif Ismail is a lecturer at the Department Of Professional Development and Continuing Education, Faculty Of Educational Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia. He was a secondary school teacher from 1993 to 2000 before joining the university. Currently, he is a student reading for the degree of Ph.D in Continuing Education at the Institute Of Education, University Of Warwick. His research interests are in extension and continuing education, leadership and human resource development.

  • Career development
  • Culture
  • Agency
  • Identity
Person as Subject
  • Dr Socrates Dr Schwandt Dr Susan Dr Sally Dr Simon Dr Sid Dr Sam Dr Hughes Dr Holmes Dr Huckleberry

(Virtual Presentation, English)