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The nature of ‘scholarship’ has emerged as a ‘hot spot’ in VET institutions that have extended their programming to include higher education provision (mixed sector institutions). This is both a consequence and an expression of the institutionalised ‘sectoral distinctions and cultural hierarchies’ in higher and vocational education (Wheelahan et al 2012, p. 33). These divisions are evident across mixed sector institutions but are reported to be less significant in private mixed sector providers (Moodie 2010; Wheelahan et al 2012).

A consortium led by The TAFE Development Centre has been successful in obtaining NCVER funding for a research project exploring how scholarship is understood and practised across the Australian tertiary sector (higher education, mixed sector and VET) as a means of better understanding and supporting scholarly practice in mixed sector institutions.

This paper proposes a definitional framework for ‘scholarship’ that takes account of the distinctive character of mixed sector provision and reports on the preliminary findings of a textual analysis of three cases of scholarly practice (one from each location in the tertiary sector) commissioned as part of the project. The analysis uses selected literature to tease out the features of quality scholarly practice in Australian tertiary education.

The paper concludes with some observations about the nature of quality scholarly practice arising from the analysis of the cases and raises questions about the implications for scholarly practice in mixed sector institutions.

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