University professional staff roles, identities, and spaces of interaction: systematic review of literature published in 2000–2020

Veles, Natalia, Graham, Carroll, and Ovaska, Claire (2023) University professional staff roles, identities, and spaces of interaction: systematic review of literature published in 2000–2020. Policy Reviews in Higher Education, 7 (2). pp. 127-168.

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Higher education as a field of research and a broad topic for investigation continues to grow; however, several topics remain less explicated than those about core university activities (teaching and research). Specifically, the experience of university professional staff is a topic that attracts lesser attention but is important and relevant to higher education institutions’ current and future operations. A systematic review of 54 publications from the first two decades of the twenty-first century, across the Global South and Global North, was undertaken to advance knowledge about the changing roles and occupational identities of professional staff and the spaces of interaction with others in the university community. This review found changes in professional identity construction, a growing sense of agency in professional staff, increasing visibility in their contributions to university work and developing collaborations with academic staff. These findings are set in the context of critical engagement with the discourse of third space and other boundary zones of staff interaction and working together. Our review concludes with specific propositions for university practice, informed policymaking and future research.

Item ID: 78024
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2332-2950
Keywords: Higher/tertiary education; systematic literature review; SLR; higher education institutions; universities; professional staff; academic staff; professional identities; staff collaboration; spaces of interaction; boundaries; third space
Copyright Information: © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2023 01:19
FoR Codes: 39 EDUCATION > 3904 Specialist studies in education > 390403 Educational administration, management and leadership @ 50%
39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390303 Higher education @ 50%
SEO Codes: 16 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 1601 Learner and learning > 160102 Higher education @ 50%
16 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 1602 Schools and learning environments > 160204 Management, resources and leadership @ 50%
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