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CANCELLED – Tracing the emergence of scholar-practitioners through a work-based professional doctorate

Wednesday 3 July: Conference day one, 11:30am – 12:00pm parallel session



Room 10 – 303-B07 Sem



Dr Lois Meyer
University of New South Wales, Australia



A key premise of professional doctorates is that they can foster advanced professionals: scholar-practitioners, who can successfully integrate academic and workplace cultures and practices to generate evidence-based ways of knowing and doing within the complexities of real-world practice. To date studies on professional doctorates in Australia have largely focused on the policy context and curriculum characteristics with limited research on the shaping of learning, identities and practices.

This paper reports on a work-based professional doctorate begun in 2009 as an innovative collaboration between an Australian government health system and university and then expanded in 2013 to be delivered with a breadth of health services for fostering public health scholar-practitioners.  Within a decade, the initiative went from a university-enterprise partnership in one geographical location to multiple partnerships by the university with a national and global reach in diverse geographical locations and services.  It is within this evolving landscape of the program that the perspectives and formation of the doctoral candidates is presented.

A qualitative longitudinal study has been conducted for a decade with the program’s doctoral students using an iterative series of in-depth biographical narratives and focus groups.  Drawing on the qualitative data with over thirty-five students, both biographical and thematic analysis was undertaken to distill key themes and narratives of continuity and change from the individual to the collective.

The findings clearly attest to the central role of embedded workplace research for becoming, and being seen to be, a public health scholar-practitioner.  The study gives voice to the process of re-formation as doctoral students become boundary spanners across academic and health service contexts to forge new knowledge and practices.  It also illuminates the wider context within which a partnership model for professional doctoral education can be considered.


Presentation topic

Students – Working in Partnership

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