Friend or Foe: the complexities of being an academic and a doctoral student in the same institution

Lynn Clouder, Jennie Billot, Virginia King, Jan Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


A growing expectation that academic staff in higher education institutions (HEIs) will be qualified to doctoral level can mean that doctoral study must be juggled alongside administration, teaching, and academic duties. Many academics study in their own institutions. We wished to explore their perspectives on i) how the two roles, of being an academic as well as a doctoral candidate, interact or not and ii) the influences and resources at play in navigating the processes. The qualitative study explored staff experiences in two HEIs in the United Kingdom and one in New Zealand. Using Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) as a theoretical framework, we identified the contradictions within and between academic life and doctoral candidature activity systems. However, we focus on the tools and rules that frame daily academic life and doctoral study, and suggest remodelling systems to be kinder to academic staff brave enough to engage in doctoral study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1961-1972
Number of pages12
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number9
Early online date20 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020


  • Cultural Historical Activity Theory
  • academic roles
  • doctoral arrangements
  • doctoral practices
  • dual-status academics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Friend or Foe: the complexities of being an academic and a doctoral student in the same institution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this