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A Grounded Theory of Professional Identity Development: Experiences of University Faculty Members in Vietnam
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Vietnamese faculty members teaching in public higher education institutions in Vietnam were the target of this dissertation study. The purpose was to explore their professional development experiences, focusing on their perceived professional development, their participation in various professional activities, factors influencing their experiences in this area, and outcomes of their professional development involvement. Despite the significant contribution of faculty members to the quality of education system and to the qualified national human resources in Vietnam, there is limited knowledge about their professional development experiences. To better support faculty members in improving their professional competency and performance, it is important to understand how they experience their professional development. I conducted a qualitative research study, guided by a grounded theory methodology. I interviewed 14 Vietnamese faculty members who had at least nine years of work experience as faculty members in public universities in Vietnam. To ensure the credibility of the study, I followed the five-phase process of data collection and analysis process in the grounded theory method adapted from Corbin and Strauss (2014) and Pryor (2009). As the result of constant comparing and contrasting of the professional development experiences of the participating Vietnamese faculty members, this study highlighted the significant professional development activities, including overseas Ph.D. programs, workplace learning, and disorienting dilemmas. The study also points out the critical role of personal factors in shaping faculty’s perceptions toward enablers and challenges that guided their professional development strategies. In this regard, taking ownership of professional development, together with balancing roles and learning, were the most important professional development strategies that this faculty used to react and interact with a limited supportive higher education system in Vietnam. Furthermore, the study findings provide evidence for the significant impact of overseas doctoral education experience on the participants' career development. Overseas doctoral holders tended to be more active and productive in the international professional community, thanks to their better mastery of professional competencies and self-efficacy. Given the context of barriers overweighting support, my findings showed that the competency and self-efficacy improvement and professional self-concept changes were the common outcomes of all participants’ professional development. Another significant contribution of this study is the newly developed conceptual framework of professional identity development for Vietnamese faculty members. The framework conceptualizes the development of professional identity as a process and outcomes. Based on these major findings and the conceptual framework, this study also has broad implications for practice, research, and theory.
Vietnam higher education
Phuong, Tam To (2018). A Grounded Theory of Professional Identity Development: Experiences of University Faculty Members in Vietnam. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from