Knowledge Networks of Portfolio Workers. 2002-2005 (completed)
In ‘portfolio’ work arrangements, or what some call ‘boundaryless’ work, professional individuals contract their expertise and services to a variety of clients. We were interested in professionals’ experience of portfolio work, its conditions and challenges, and the kinds of knowledge it demands. This study interviewed professionals such as nurses, educators, organisational developers, program evaluators, journalists etc to explore these issues and individuals’ learning strategies for addressing them, such as building knowledge networks. Publications explored how professionals learn to negotiate identity issues in portfolio/boundaryless work, work the boundaries, manage fluid knowledge, and walk the lines of insider-outsider.
Selected Publication Outputs:
Fenwick, T. (2008). Women’s learning in contract work: Practicing contradictions in boundaryless conditions. Vocations and Learning, 1 (1), 11-26.
Fenwick, T. (2007). Knowledge workers in the in-between: Network identities. Journal of Organisational Change Management, 20 (4), 509-524.
Fenwick, T. (2006). Contradictions in portfolio careers: Work design and client relations. Career Development International, 11 (1), 66-79.
Fenwick, T. (2004). Learning in portfolio work: Anchored innovation and mobile identities. Studies in Continuing Education, 26 (2), 229-241.
Fenwick, T. (2003). Flexibility and individualisation in adult education careers: The case of portfolio workers. Journal of Education and Work, 16 (2), 165-184.
Professional Growth Plans: Relations between teacher self-assessment, professional knowledge, and school culture. 2000-2004 (completed)
Professional growth plans are often presented as a progressive approach to encourage professional learning and to stimulate formative feedback for professional development. This study interviewed teachers and educational administrators across three school districts that had mandated the used of growth plans for all staff about their actual use of these plans, their value and challenges. Conflicting responses showed that while growth plans can be surveillant, limiting teacher risk, creativity and critical thinking, they also can open spaces for generative dialogue about practice and can mobilise collective action towards new approaches. What makes the difference is a decentralized and supportive supervisory approach, resources for teacher projects, lots of time for exploratory talk, and removal of the assessment factor.
Selected publication outputs:
Fenwick, T. (2004). Teacher learning and professional growth plans: Implementation of a provincial policy. Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, 19 (3), 259-282.
Fenwick, T. (2003). The good teacher in neo-liberal risk society: A Foucaultian analysis of professional growth plans. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 35 (3), 335-354
Fenwick, T. (2003). Professional growth plans: Possibilities and limitations of an organizationwide employee development strategy. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 14 (1), 59-78.
Fenwick, T. (2001). Teacher supervision through professional growth plans: Balancing contradictions and opening possibilities. Educational Administration Quarterly, 37 (3), 401-424.
Mid-Career Professionals, Problem-Based Learning and the Changing Self: Exploring the long-term influence of continuing professional education. 2000-2002 (completed)
Problem-based learning has become a popular pedagogical approach in post-graduate continuing professional development. This study examined the structure and outcomes of one Master’s degree programme in leadership and training premised on problem-based learning. Graduates of the programme, all mid-career professionals, were surveyed and interviewed to explore its influence on their development. Graduates often reported significant personal transformation affecting their career direction and workplace practice.
Selected publication outputs:
Fenwick, T. (2005). Ethical dilemmas of critical management education. Management Learning, 36 (1), 31-48.
Fenwick, T. (2002). Problem-based learning, group process and the mid-career professional: Implications for graduate education. Higher Education Research and Development 21 (1), 5-21.
Fenwick, T. (2001). Magic in mid-career: Problem-based learning, the changing self, and non-traditional graduate education. Research report. Edmonton: University of Alberta. (102 pages)
Fenwick, T. & Parsons, J. (1998). Boldly solving the world: A critical analysis of problem-based learning in professional education. Studies in the Education of Adults, 30 (1), 53-66.