The Role of Professional Passion and Identity in Improving Diversity and Success in Professional Education including Teaching

LIZ Thomas, Elisabeth Hovdhaugen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Professional degrees, qualifying graduates to work in public sector ‘welfare’ professions, are attractive career choices for first generation entrants. Research with healthcare students in England and Norway suggests that they enter higher education with a strong and motivating passion to become a professional in their chosen field, aspiring to a professional, rather than a student, identity. Professional commitment and passion comes from exposure to these professions, through personal experience of healthcare, family members’ employment as a healthcare professional, and personal employment in a health or social care setting. These experiences are motivating, and can be understood as an asset to be drawn upon during students’ studies. We argue that in order to widen participation in professional programmes, including teacher education, the focus should be on igniting, identifying and nurturing professional passion and identity. This can be contrasted with strategies to recruit and retain students in traditional academic programmes, in which the development of a higher education student identity is prioritised.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDiversifying the Teaching Profession: Dimensions, Dilemas, and Directions for the Future
EditorsElaine Keane, Manuela Heinz, Rory Mc Daid
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge : UNESCO
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781003188735
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sept 2022


  • diversity
  • widening participation
  • teacher education

Cite this