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Exploring attitudes and beliefs of academic staff towards students’ career development: Does this influence approaches to teaching and assessment?

Wednesday 3 July: Conference day one, 11:00am – 11:30am parallel session



Room 8 – 303 B09 Sem



Jake Hoskin
Monash University, Australia 

Danielle Amiet
Monash University, Australia

Janeane Dart
Monash University, Australia

Associate Professor Julia Choate
Monash University, Australia



Career development is an essential component of graduate employability (Watts, 2006). It is particularly important for non-vocational degree-programs that lack a clear ‘end-point’, especially given current trends for employers to seek ‘soft skills’ above discipline-specific knowledge (Hajkowicz et al 2016). For undergraduate career development learning to be effective it needs to be embedded into the curriculum with academic involvement (Bridgstock, 2009), but careers education has historically not been considered part of an academic’s role (Hustler et al. 1998). Thus, it is imperative that we understand academics’ perceptions and current teaching practices associated with students’ career development as we strategise how to better prepare graduates for work.


The initiative (research)

This research explored academics’ views on supporting students’ career development as their students completed undergraduate studies in non-vocational degree programs (Biomedical Science, Nutritional Science and Psychology) at an Australian University. The research questions explored were: What are the attitudes and beliefs of academic staff towards career development of students in their courses? What teaching and learning approaches are academics currently integrating to support students’ career development?


Methods of data collection and analysis

A constructionist qualitative inquiry framework was utilised for this research. Semi-structured focus groups, using logic of inquiry, investigated the research questions. Academics from three non-vocational degree programs (N=27) participated in focus groups, facilitated by the relevant program-specific research team member. Framework thematic analysis was utilised for the focus group transcripts.


Evidence / Results

Using deductive and inductive data analysis, four major themes (attitudes and beliefs, teaching and learning approaches, future aspirations, and challenges), and thirteen sub-themes were developed. Similar and divergent views were identified across academics and degree-programs. This research provides rich insights into understanding academics’ views and attitudes and the complexities of academics’ supporting their students’ career development. This has broad implications for curricular development and academic roles.



Bridgstock R. (2009). The graduate attributes we’ve overlooked: Enhancing graduate employability through career management skills. Higher Education Research & Development. 28(1):31-44., DOI: 10.1080/07294360802444347
Hajkowicz SA, Reeson A, Rudd L, Bratanova A, Hodgers L, Mason C, Boughen N. (January 2016). Tomorrow’s digitally enabled workforce: Megatrends and scenarios for jobs and employment in Australia over the coming twenty years. Australian Policy Online.
Hustler D, Carter K, Halsall R, Watts T, Ball B, Ward R. (1998). Developing Career Management Skills in Higher Education. NICEC Briefing.
Watts AG. (2006). Learning and employability Series Two: Personal development planning and employability.


Presentation topic

Academics – Work and Identity

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