Five interconnected cogs: Research, Policy, Practice, Teaching, leading to the largest of the five Pracademia. Image credited to Turgoose 2023
Annual NTF Symposia

The Added value of the Pracademic Classroom in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Di Turgoose, Associate Professor and De Montfort University Teacher Fellow, and Pracademics in Criminal Justice Network Lead 

In Higher Education Institution’s (HEIs) we have seen the spotlight emerge on the concept of ‘pracademia’; the nexus between pragmatic ‘real world’ practice and abstract academia, so the opportunity to present my work in this area was timely and coincided with the inclusion of ‘pracademia’ as an area of ‘WISER’ interest in the call for papers for the 2023 Association of National Teaching Fellows symposium

I was honoured to lead a workshop during the symposium entitled ‘The added value of the Pracademic Classroom in the social science discipline of Criminology and Criminal Justice’.  

The interactive workshop initially explored ‘who’ and ‘what counts’ as a pracademic, covering the history of the use of the term, alongside the contested nature of disconnect surrounding it. My own work (Turgoose 2022; 2023; Turgoose et al forthcoming) which calls to extend the concept beyond that presented in the literature (see Volpe and Chandler 2001; Posner 2009; Panda 2014) was presented, before examining the benefits that pracademics bring to HEIs in terms of enhancing teaching, learning and scholarship. 

To illustrate the added value of the pracademic classroom real world examples of disruptive pedagogical teaching practices informed by adult learning theory (Knowles et al 2020) which have been utilised on professional blended distance learning and traditional taught undergraduate, campus-based programmes, were shared from my social science discipline, criminology, and criminal justice. 

The session provided an opportunity to share ideas from participants own disciplines contributing to developing pracademic networking opportunities from the community of practice that is NTF/CATE. This is important not least because while the boundary spanning nature of pracademia is generally an accepted part of university programmes of study, the contemporary practice-academy model is not currently clearly defined, understood or embedded into HEI’s per se. 

Authenticity was omnipresent through the workshop discussion, recognising that truly rich learning experiences arise from sharing diverse experiences and expertise. Being able to share my experiences of working in practice to enable students to learn in a way that is relevant and meaningful to them, and to do this with scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) experts at the NTF/CATE symposium was a challenging yet very welcome personal experience.  

As an aspiring National Teacher Fellow, it seems fitting to conclude this blog with the quote I used to end the workshop from bell hooks, “As a classroom community, our capacity to generate excitement is deeply affected by our interest in one another, in hearing one another’s voices, in recognizing one another’s presence”. 

Link to the presentation is available here: 

If you would like to join the Pracademics in Criminal Justice Network, Di can be contacted at   


bell hooks (1994) Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom Abingdon Routledge 

Knowles, M.S.; Holton, E. F. H III.; Swanson, R.A.; and Robinson, P. A.  (2020) The adult learner: The definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development 9th edition Oxon Routledge  

Panda, A. (2014) Bringing academic and corporate worlds closer: we need pracademics in Management and Labour Studies Vol 39 (2) pp 140-159 

Posner, P.L. (2009) ‘The Pracademic: An agenda for re-engaging practitioners and academics’, Public Budgeting and Finance, 29(1) pp12–26 

Turgoose, D., Christopher, S., Knight, V., O’Neill, S., Standen, L., (2022) The Pracademic Classroom in Criminal Justice: Learning for life. Engendering Teaching Excellence in a Time of Great Change: The Empowering University: Learning and Teaching Conference De Montfort University 22nd September URI 

Turgoose, D. (2023) Pracademia: What’s it all about? Centre for Academic Innovation and Teaching Excellence (CAITE) seminar series 12th April 

Turgoose, D., Knight, V., Woodward, D., (forthcoming 2024) Pracademics in Criminal Justice Oxon Routledge 

Volpe, M. R and Chandler, D. (2001) Resolving and managing conflicts in academic communities: the emerging role of the pracademic in Negotiation journal 17 (3) pp245-256 

Twitter: Follow @pracademiccrime for more information about the pracademic classroom in Criminology and Criminal Justice