Alumni Shadowing Project at the Estonian Military Academy: Faculty Feedback on its Effect on Professional Development


  • Svetlana Ganina




The article provides an overview and an analysis of action research conducted in the framework of the alumni shadowing project implemented at the Estonian Military Academy (EMA). Participation in the alumni shadowing project provided an opportunity for the EMA’s faculty members to gain insights into the actual professional duties of EMA alumni by way of direct communication and on-site visits. Interviews with participating EMA faculty members and notes from the journal of the project’s coordinator were used as primary input data. For the purposes of this research, alumni were defi ned as students who had recently graduated from the EMA, and who had gone into active service with the Estonian Defence Forces after graduation. This article provides an overview of research conducted in the framework of this project that focused on the following three research questions: 1) How do faculty members define their professional development? 2) How do faculty members describe the effects of participating in the alumni shadowing project on their professional development? 3) What were the problems encountered by the faculty in the course of this project? The research indicates that the EMA’s teaching staff needs to gain a better understanding of the organisation’s perspective regarding their professional development, enabling them to plan their development more effi ciently in the long run. The results showed that participation in the alumni shadowing project increased awareness among the teaching staff regarding the actual service duties performed by EMA alumni, providing an impetus to revisit and review the contents and methodology of the courses they teach at the EMA. Furthermore, results indicate that the faculty members found that participation in this type of project provides an invaluable opportunity to support their professional development in the areas of specialised professional knowledge and teaching methodology. Therefore, we can conclude that participation in this type of alumni shadowing project could support the professional development of the teaching staff . However, this process seems to be effective only if faculty members understand the process of their professional development and how it affects the larger organisation. Alumni shadowing seems to be especially benefi cial if the teaching staff and the alumni who take part in such programmes have a clear shared understanding of their respective roles. Other contributing factors to the success of the project seem to be the establishment of mutual trust between the pairedup teacher and the alumnus, as well as the formulation of detailed professional development strategies for each member of the organisation’s faculty.


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