Learning by association in higher education

Dr Heather Davis
T: +61 3 9035 8648
E: heather.davis@unimelb.edu.au

Project Details

A comparative analysis of Australian and UK membership associations for university administrators

ATEM (Association for Tertiary Education Management) in Australia and the Association for University Administrators (AUA), like many membership bodies, rely on the good will of volunteers to optimise interactions, faciliate learning and manage change. In this project we plan to:

  • explore how board members of these associations mobilise knowledge and organisational learning for themselves and their institutions;
  • compare the missions of ATEM and AUA and explore issues of public value and marketisation across the global HE sector;
  • in uncertain contexts with members frequently changing roles and employers, explore how the permanence of professional associations might best support members' work and identity;
  • explore how these particular membership associations might enhance employability in an increasingly ‘gig’ economy in the higher education sector.

Project outcomes of this project will be a clearer understanding of the role that professional associations play in the global tertiary education ecosystem, which in turn will inform strategic directions for these associations and their members, as well as HEIs in Australia and the UK.

Project page on ResearchGate


Dr Heather Davis, LH Martin Institute; Dr Julie Davies, Huddersfield Business School UK; and, Prof Carole Elliot, Roehampton Business School UK.




Dr Heather Davis has been awarded the 2018 Peter Karmel International Travel Grant of AUD$10,000 for this project