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 journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)
    46 Downloads (Pure)


    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 Sept 2020

    Bibliographical note

    This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Studies in Higher Education on 20/07/2019, 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.


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

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education


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