Professional Identity in Education

How do educational staff and school organisations develop their professional identity? What is the meaning of professional identity for the purposes and content of education and for the functioning of educational organisations as a learning and professional community? The professorship of Professional Identity in Education (applied sciences) conducts research into these questions. This professorship focuses on issues relating to the position and identity of lecturers and the identity and organisation of professional educational organisations, related to the educational objectives.


It is our basic principle that an explicit image of 'Good Education' is the cornerstone of the professional identity of educational professionals and organisations, and it is the guideline for acting in daily educational practice. The professorship carries out research and coaching activities aimed at knowledge development, dialogue and cooperation for the benefit of professional practice, society, training education and professionalisation. Our research is based on the ideas of John Dewey, Emmanuel Levinas and Hannah Arendt, among others.

This professorship is in keeping with discussions in education and society about the tasks of education, the position of educational professionals, the organisation of educational organisations and the significance of scientific research for the educational practice.


The professorship of Professional Identity in Education has formulated the following ambition:

Based on:

  • a democratic image of mankind, in which mankind is part of and dealing with a world that is in development;
  • a conception of a society based on a democratic, pluralistic community with free interactions between groups with or without shared interests;
  • recognising the important role education has in identifying new developments and realities in the world, and in developing society;
  • an attitude that can be described as a democratisation of rationality;
  • the importance of the meaning that professionals and organisations give to 'Good Education';
  • relevant scientific sources;
  • strong roots in the traditions of the universities of applied sciences from which NHL Stenden originates.

The environment may expect from us that we:

  • commit to issues of professional identity with regard to students, lecturers, organisation and research & professional development within the surrounding field of education (Primary Education, Secondary Education, Secondary Vocational Education and Higher Vocational Education), the Academy for Primary Teacher Education and the University of Applied Sciences.
  • develop, deploy and share expertise in the field of professional identity in education;
  • inspire to constructive and critical reflection on socio-political trends that influence professional identity in education, with a reference to a democratic view of people and society.

We are accountable for tangible contributions to the development of the professional identity of partners in the surrounding field of education, the academy and the university of applied sciences.

Research structure

This professorship focuses its activities on three research areas: the lecturer, educational organisation, and research & professionalisation. Below we give a brief overview of the themes within the research areas.

The lecturer

  • The lecturer as a pedagogical/social guide and educational leader
  • Teacher Agency
  • Professionalism
  • Professional Autonomy

Educational Organisation

  • Characteristics of a professional educational organisation
  • Development process from educational organisation to professional educational organisation
  • Leadership in professional educational organisations
  • Professionalism and professional autonomy in the context of the educational organisation
  • Reflection on and research into one's own educational organisation (Academy for Primary Teacher Education, NHL Stenden)
  • Issues relating to worldview identity, for example in the context of cooperative or integrated schools

Research & professional development

  • Design-orientated research as a means of educational and professional development
  • A research-orientated attitude in relation to professionalism
  • Learning communities

Relationship to education

The professorship is embedded in the Academy of Primary Teacher Education of NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences. It is closely linked to education and research within the master programmes Learning & Innovation, and Educational Leadership. It is also actively involved in the realisation of a 'professional identity' development line in the bachelor programme Teacher Primary Education.

The professorship contributes to a sustainable identity development within NHL Stenden as a whole, in accordance with the objectives and principles as formulated in the merger document.

Doing research at Professional Identity in Education? 

Students play an active role in the research of the research group. Are you interested in the subject? Then you can link research tasks in your programme to research projects of the professorship.


The professorship develops a sustainable partnership with VONKT, a centre for identity in education in the north of the Netherlands and the foundation Protestants Centrum Godsdienstig Vormingsonderwijs (Protestant Centre for Religious Education).


Research group team

The professor heading the research group is Dr Albert Weishaupt, MSc.

Contact details

Do you have questions about the research group and/or would you like to receive more information? Please contact professor Albert Weishaupt or coordinator Herma Korfage.

NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences
Academy of Primary Teacher Education
Rengerslaan 10, ground floor, C-wing
P.O. Box 1080
8900 CB Leeuwarden 



Relation to Academy/NHL Stenden

Area of focus

Albert Weishaupt

Professor of applied sciences

Professorship in general, Design-based research

Herma Korfage


Professorship coordinator/research group member

University graduate

Professionalism, professional area in the context of change


Lineke de Vries


Research group member

University graduate

Professional educational organisations (secondary education)

Jose Middendorp


Research group member

Team leader Academy masters

Pedagogical sensitivity, research perspectives in phenomenology

Jarig Komrij


Research group member


Teacher Agency & HRD / professional development
Transition, innovation and leadership in education

Herman Hoedemaker


Research group member

Connecting SLO/MEL/MLI /professional field

Industry contacts related to questions and research assignments 

Johan Wind

Research group member

HRM policy advisor, organisational development/project leader

Ownership, result-responsible teams, leadership

Carolien Calon


Research group member

Curriculum development bachelor

Professional identity – study guidance or personal professional development in the Teacher Secondary Education study programme 

Han Bakker


Research group member

Curriculum development bachelor

Professional identity – study guidance or personal professional development in the Teacher Secondary Education study programme


Dirkje Elgersma



Securing and management support staff