How do full-time lecturers in higher education view their career development, in relation to studying part-time for a doctoral degree and participating in research publication, while having to balance between work and family life?

  • Agnes Chau

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Philosophy (MPhil)


The author’s personal experience as a lecturer in a higher education institute (HEI) in Hong Kong for ten years has led her to acknowledge the complexities of this context and the changing demands on lecturers. Being made redundant in 2010 caused her considerable stress, in particular because she did not understand fully the reason for her redundancy. Studying the Doctor of Education (EdD) unit ‘Learning and Teaching in the Global University’ enabled her to begin to understand her experience, and she decided to undertake research that would explore other lecturers’ experiences, whilst allowing her to reflect on her own. The overall purpose of this research is to explore the working lives of a small group of higher education lecturers in Hong Kong, all of whom have been affected by the increased pressure on them to conduct research.

The experiences of the higher education lecturers were explored using narrative inquiry. As participants spoke about their experiences, they were able to reframe them so that they were constructed as more positive and as having a more settled place in their life. The author made transparent, and intertwined, her own beliefs and values with the stories that she heard in order to ensure reflexivity. In doing so, she invites readers to recall their own memories and experiences of similar difficulties in their working lives.

From this in-depth research, the author has gained insight into the situations of the participants and the different kinds of pressure that they experienced. This insight enables her to suggest how higher education lecturers can strike a balance between teaching, placement supervision, research and administration, as well as between work, study and family lives. The study is particularly pertinent to the current higher education context in Hong Kong but may have wider application to other higher education contexts.
Date of Award8 May 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorSheila M Trahar (Supervisor)

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