Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
This qualitative study examined the journey of six higher education faculty
members who encountered a state of professional disillusionment in their careers but later
moved to a professional sense of vitality in the professoriate. Building on the extant
literature, this study investigated this phenomenon of moving from professional
disillusionment to vitality in the professoriate through the lenses of life course, agency,
and job satisfaction. These components provided the structure for the study’s conceptual
framework. Employing interpretative phenomenological analysis based on semistructured
interviews, the study traced the journey of these professors to understand how
the key encounters of their lived experiences represented aspects of the professional
disillusionment as well as the structures and strategies that accounted for their movement
into a state of vitality. The findings reveal that the participants underwent this
phenomenon in developmental stages. To progress from a state of professional
disillusionment to a professional sense of vitality, higher education faculty members must
overcome cognitive dissonance, solicit multiple levels of support, and experience selfreflection.
Three major policy implications stem from this study: revamping doctorate
programs, introducing more professional development opportunities for faculty members,
and calling for different organizations and associations to take active roles in the
development of future and current faculty members.
Martin, Robert J., "Turn That Frown Upside Down: The Experience Of Higher Education Faculty Moving From Disillusionment To Vitality" (2015). Theses and Dissertations. 1810.