Role Models and Value Patterns which Shape the Academic Career Path. Case-study: West University of Timişoara
Volume II, 2018, No 2, Pages: 62-78
Simona Adam, West University of Timişoara, Department of Teacher Training, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
An academic career can bring many satisfactions, but it also involves major challenges. This study analyses the academic career from a constructivist perspective, which sees it as an evolutionary process influenced by a variety of macro and micro-social circumstances. I have used a qualitative methodology based on the narrative and comparative analysis of in-depth interviews with 30 former professors from the West University of Timişoara. The semi-structured interviews were taken several years ago by a team of researchers from the same university. The main goal of the project was the construction of the history of this institution through the memories of its key members. The interview guide, which comprised of 46 questions, was divided into 6 main themes: professional formation; the beginning of the academic career; hierarchical and horizontal relationships; the influence of the political and ideological context; professor – student relationship and professional identity.
Being shaped by socialization and early work experiences, the academic career path is often influenced by mentors or role models. I analyse the influence of these role models in various stages of the academic career and the retrospective valorisation of these models. The second dimension analysed in the study is the core value system which defines the professional identity of the academics. The value patterns are directly connected with their attitudes towards students or other members of the academic staff. The core values are also visible in the process of self definition, and these are, according to our interviewees: humanism, respect towards the students, objectivity in assessing student’s activity, scientific knowledge and research expertise.
Keyworlds: academic career, role models, values, professional identity.