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Professional Autonomy as a Cornerstone for Effective Professional and Social Activity

Alise Oļesika, Zanda Rubene
University of Latvia, Latvia

Abstract. Current challenges in the labor market associated with rapid globalization, digitalization, and skills gaps, cause features such as a learning community, opportunities for collaboration, student self-efficacy, social skills, coherent intercultural communication, and self-realization to play a significant role in students’ professional development. Successful interpersonal and social participation in society as well as skills such as independence, self-confidence, decision-making, openness to change, and responsibility, which are emphasized in the definition of professional autonomy, are also fundamental to their development.
To prepare university students for the labor market, it is necessary to consider the above and develop students’ professional autonomy to close the gap between students’ theoretical learning and the development of practical professional pursuits. Despite the importance of professional autonomy, its concept in educational sciences is not sufficiently defined and described, as it lacks a theoretical basis. For that reason, this research aims to study the etymology of professional autonomy, the typology of professional autonomy, and how professional autonomy is measured in higher education by conducting a systematic literature analysis. 
The results of this study reveal divergent definitions of professional autonomy, the scope of its concept, and explain the applicability of tools for measuring professional autonomy in higher education. Additionally, it identifies three levels of professional autonomy: general, collegial, and individual.

Keywords: Higher Education, Interpersonal Skills, Professional Autonomy, Social Skills, Systematic Literature Analysis

About the authors

Dr. paed. Zanda Rubene is a professor and vice-dean at the University of Latvia, Faculty of Education Psychology and Art.

Alise Oļesika is a scientific assistant at the University of Latvia, Faculty of Education, Psychology and Art, and a doctoral student in the joint program “Educational Sciences”.

To Be or Not to Be a Great Educator, 2022. Proceedings of ATEE Annual Conference
Riga: University of Latvia Press, 2023. 985 p.
EdL. Daniela
ISBN 978-9934-36-019-0