ProPEL is a collaborative, multi-professional international network to promote research and knowledge exchange in leading issues of professional
education, practice and learning. ProPEL was launched in 2010 when Professor Tara Fenwick joined the University of Stirling.
Our two key themes are the changing nature of professional learning and responsibility in professional practice.
In 21st century conditions of rapidly changing societies, transnational knowledge cultures and work arrangements, increasing regulation and audit, restructuring of professions and changing expectations of professionals, we ask: What purposes and forms of education are most helpful to support professional learning in changing societies? The research network aims to create a dynamic working space for reconceptualising professionalism and professional learning, and for fostering collaborations to improve educational policy and practice to support professional learning.
A number of research projects are underway exploring our two themes. We use a range of theoretical and methodological resources, particularly in practice-based or ‘socio-material’ approaches to understand professional knowledge.
Our network includes university-based researchers and doctoral students who are interested in health care, policing, social care, public education, management and organisation studies, and creative industries.
We are hosting various events including the ESRC-funded seminar series, “New Levels of Professional Responsibility: Exploring Workplace Pedagogies in Transitions” This is a collaborative project between ProPEL researchers at the University of Stirling, the Universities of Leeds and Birkbeck, University of London
Check out our news section for announcements, research posts and studentships, and recent papers.
For further information contact the ProPEL Director, Professor Tara Fenwick, firstname.lastname@example.org
ProPEL Theme 1: Changing Demands for Professional Learning
Professional learning is increasingly acknowledged to be embodied and emergent, entwined with identity, and situated in practice (its discourses, objects, regulations, activities and politics). Professional practice and learning is mediated by diverse knowledge sources, international standards, and regional knowledge cultures. Professionals themselves are increasingly called upon to be critical, innovative, resilient global citizens and leaders who can identify and respond to key social challenges. Issues for research include:
- transitions in professional knowledge and role expectations
- emerging professions and emerging organisational forms for professional practice
- time and space in the shifting ecologies and economies of practice
- negotiating professional identities in multi-professional settings
- influence of digital technologies on professional knowledge emerging in practice
- innovative ways to assess professional learning in practice
- changing relations among disciplinary knowledge, material practice, and professional thinking
ProPEL Theme 2: Responsibility in Professional Practice
Questions about professional responsibility have become particularly acute in public scrutiny of professional practice ranging from children and family services to accounting. ‘Responsibility’ is a multi-faceted category that can embrace ethical dilemmas as well as complexities of ‘care’ and ‘goodness’ in professional practice. More broadly, some professions and organisations are exploring notions of social responsibility – or ecological responsibility (including social and environmental concerns). Some are linking with the UN Global Compact to discuss ‘global responsibility’ and what this might mean in professional practice and education. Others are comparing the material enactments and languages of responsibility. Issues for research include:
- the nature of responsibility and its changing meanings
- dilemmas and practices of responsibility in professional communities
- connections of professional responsibility with democracy/citizenship issues
- ecologies of learning and identities in responsibility.