Borderlanders: Academic Staff being and becoming Doctoral Students

Jennie Billot, Virginia King, Jan Smith , Lynn Clouder

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)
    23 Downloads (Pure)


    The notion of borderlands implies a boundary demarcating a crossing to/from an unfamiliar territory. It is a productive metaphor for dual-status academics – those employed in academic roles in universities who concurrently undertake doctoral studies. We argue that dual-status academics dwell in an extended form of boundary crossing, potentially to-ing and fro-ing several times a day, inducing unforeseen impacts on identities. Having previously reported the structures that frame this boundary crossing, here we re-analyse an existing data set for the visceral: the stories of code-switching, of peripheral existence and of agentic purpose. Our data indicate that dual-status academics adopt a transactional approach to doctoral supervision that results in a ‘fight or flight’ response to the emotional and relationship challenges these borderlands present with implications for how academics manage colleague supervision, both as supervisor and supervisee. Our study leads us to recommend tailored institutional and supervisory support pedagogies for these academics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)438-453
    Number of pages16
    JournalTeaching in Higher Education
    Issue number3
    Early online date23 Feb 2021
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Bibliographical note

    This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Teaching in Higher Education, on 23/02/2021, available online:

    Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


    • Doctoral education
    • academic practice
    • doctoral supervision
    • dual-status

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education


    Dive into the research topics of 'Borderlanders: Academic Staff being and becoming Doctoral Students'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this