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L. Koettgen, C. Tummel, A. Richert, I. Isenhardt

IMA/ZLW & IfU - RWTH Aachen University (GERMANY)
The successful matching of higher education structures and the increasing digitalization with its chances and challenges is a big task. As an immediate result the higher education system is forced to search for new organizational structures, forms of collaboration, adapted teaching concepts and then some. Also qualification service providers on universities have the task to react to those new circumstances. They adapt their services on the one hand according to actual educational trends and on the other hand for example they try to keep in mind a theoretically constructed ideal image of lecturers free of social adaptation needs. What is sure is that qualification service providers should think about a more systematically way of constituting their offers and give advices to lecturers.

To understand and support this process of choosing and conducting a qualification offer for a lecturer, purposefully it will be helpful to have a look on the lecturer’s situation at university from a sociological perspective: All lecturers on universities undergo the process of professional or career socialization continually. Because professional socialization is the development from personality structures and career competences in the disputations with the requirements and conditions of the labor process. It is a continuous process of acquisition and modification from knowledge, skills, motives, orientations and interpretive frames that can be used in the lecturers work activity.

The work of qualification service providers (which includes in detail: offering relevant trainings, supporting every lecturer considering the individual circumstances, etcetera) is of high importance in the process of professional socialization. It is essential to use a sociological contemplation, because it allows a holistic view on the structures to identify and define effects. Applying the theoretically concept of socialization allows to answer questions like: How can new educational topics, e.g. digitalization/e-learning, be successfully integrated in a consisting qualification system? How should qualification offers be designed for higher education now and in future? What influence on the lecturers can this kind of career development changes have? To discuss first answers on these questions methodologically the sociologically theory of professional socialization, as the theoretically construct, is used in this paper. This happens among others by the adjustment of the observations of reality with the application of the role theory assumptions and the social constructivism. The conclusion forms the use case of the already mentioned sociological theory construct in the practical example of qualification for higher education staff. The objective is to draw first initial conclusions, how career development for lecturers can be optimized by understanding this qualification process as an process of professional socialization.