Perceptions on Industry Placements: A Scoping Study of Academics in Australia

By Roberto Bergami and Annamarie Schuller.

Published by The Organization Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Academics have been criticised in some quarters for being isolated from industry and industrial processes, thus making their role as educators and researchers less optimal than it could otherwise be. In order to achieve the demands of a teaching and learning curriculum, and specialist research that is more relevant and aligned to contemporary industry practices and processes, academics must develop an appropriate range of discipline specific skills and knowledge. Academics need a program of professional development enabling them to engage with industry. The recently announced Australian Federal Government’s “Researchers in Business” initiative, funding a 50% subsidy towards the cost of industry placements, provides a new opportunity for the development of a community of practice between industry academics, students and educational institutions. As the academic is seconded to a host industry organisation for a predetermined period of time to undertake specific tasks, it is expected that the resulting benefits may include a breaking down of cultural barriers between academics and industry, leading to accelerated adoption of new ideas, in turn increasing competitiveness of firms and creating new jobs. This paper reports on the results of a scoping study undertaken at an Australian university. The study, limited to the business disciplines, aims to capture academics’ perceptions on the value of industry placements, and the results will be considered in the context of the development of communities of practice and tested against a theoretical model.

Keywords: Community of Practice, Teacher Professional Development, Industry Placement, Community Engagement, Action Learning, Action Research

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 9, Issue 9, pp.61-82. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.528MB).

Dr. Roberto Bergami

Senior Lecturer (Practice of International Trade) and Associate Researcher, Institute for Community, Ethnicity and Policy Alternatives, School of Applied Economics, Faculty of Business and Law, Victoria University, Footscray, Victoria, Australia

Roberto has over twenty years experience in the manufacturing industry, primarily within the pharmaceutical sector. He has held a number of roles in finance, sales, marketing, customer service and logistics, all with an international focus. Roberto's teaching spans over 20 years with experience in Higher Education, TAFE and private education providers. A full time member of staff at Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia, since 1998, Roberto has a Master in Education and Master of Business by Research (Applied Economics) and is currently undertaking his Ph. D. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in the School of Applied Economics and Associate Researcher of the Institute for Community, Ethnicity and Policy Alternatives. Roberto has maintained his involvement with industry through a number of peak associations where he enjoys various grades of senior level membership. In 2002 Roberto received the State of Victoria Quarantine Award for his efforts in educating students in quarantine matters. Roberto’s main areas of research interests in international trade focus on government regulations, delivery terms (Incoterms), international payment terms and market entry barriers. His other research interests include the development of communities of practice, online teaching and online communities, migration from Emilia-Romagna (Italy) to Australia and teenage/youth dialect.

Annamarie Schuller

Teacher, Department of Management and Leadership, School of Business, Dandenong, Victoria, Australia

Annamarie has been teaching business subjects in the VET sector since 1994. Her main areas of teaching specialisation include: Law, Management, HR Management, Marketing, and OH&S. She has a Bachelor of Education from Melbourne University and is currently pursuing a Master of Education by Research at Monash University. Annamarie’s prior industry experience spans over 17 years within the transport, education, pharmaceutical and food manufacturing sectors, where she held a number of roles, including administration, customer service, sales, marketing, and management. Annamarie’s main area of academic research interests focus on teaching and learning practices, communities of practice, and teacher professional development and industry placements. Annamarie is an Associate Researcher of the Institute for Community, Ethnicity and Policy Alternatives at Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.

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