From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A pracademic (or practitioner-academic or academic-practitioner) is someone who is both an academic and an active practitioner in their subject area.

The term has a history of at least 30 years, but its first coining is unclear. The earliest reference may have been identified by a subscriber to Worldwide Words[1] as being 1973. Jon Van Til, one of the pioneers in nonprofit organization research and education, reports hearing this word first spoken by Hank Rubin, then director of Public Administration at Roosevelt University, in 1989: In "an auditorium filled with academics and nonproifit practitioners ... (w)e were listening to a session being conducted by the Independent Sector organization. Hank ... rose to make a brief statement during which he observed that many of us in the hall were both academics and practitioners. We were, therefore, he announced, 'pracademics'!"[2]


In his 2001 article "The Life and Times of Pracademics", Paul L Posner [3] discusses the term pracademic. Since Posner's article many academics have used the term in journals and elsewhere.[4] In their 2001 paper in Negotiation Journal, Maria R Volpe and David Chandler[5] describe the bridging role as that of the "pracademic". Again in 2001, Willard T. Price uses the term in the same context of academic and practicing professional in Public Works.[6] George L Hanbury builds on the term in his 2004 paper on the ethics of honor by describing himself as a pracademic and observing his subject from this standpoint.[7]

Although the core bridging concept appears to be the main theme, several other usages have emerged. The idea of the pracademic as a teaching style for entrepreneurs has appeared in several places. A pracademic degree,[8] for instance, describes the case of a new degree in the UK that is taught by practitioners to students who want to be entrepreneurs. However, this use of the term remains close to the main definition of bridging the academic and practical professional world. Additionally, many academics now describe themselves as pracademics on their websites, and this use of the term aligns well with definition as commonly used.

There may be other uses of the term. For example, in 2000, the term was used to describe Ross James, who conceptualised the Transitional Learning Model [9] following extensive research for his doctoral dissertation. The model integrated learning and cross-cultural theories into a practical model to help workplace trainers design and deliver training. The model has been applied in a wide range of workplace settings. Health Communication Resources [10] has used the model in its extensive international delivery of resources for training learner-centred trainers in international radio broadcast networks.

The term was first used in relation to the UK resilience community at the inaugural conference of the Institute of Civil Protection and Emergency Management (April 2009).[11] Peter Simpson from the London Fire Brigade, who undertook a Master’s programme at Leicester University as a mature student, described people like himself and others in the resilience community as ‘pracademics’ and showed delegates the ‘Pracademic Curve’, which clearly illustrated the inter-relationship between the practitioner and academic communities, particularly as it affects those who go into academia having already embarked on a career as a practitioner.

In 2008, the term was introduced in the Criminal Justice education arena, with a paper and presentation entitled The Pracademic and Academic in Criminal Justice Education (Morreale and McCabe, 2012) at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences by Stephen A. Morreale of Worcester State University and James E. McCabe of Sacred Heart University, now at St. John's University. The paper focuses on the benefit of blending faculty that represent both the academic and pracademic perspectives, for the benefit of both the academic department and Criminal Justice students.

Many designers also have started taking interest in this term lately in their theories, research as well as practice. In 2008, Ahmedabad based architectural firm has named their office as studio prAcademics. Studio is led by Tejas Kathiriya providing architecture, interior design and urban design services. They are involved in merging the design theories with professional practice and vice versa.

In 2013, the term was introduced to the field of teaching and teacher education as well. Writing about teacher education practices in general, and teacher education in the Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) in particular, Jain [12] theorized about the relevance of the term to the lives of those who work on the intersections of practice and research. Jain used the term "pracademic" to (re)imagine her professional identity as that comprising a coherent, albeit hybridized, unity--that of a practitioner as well as an academic.


  1. ^ "Worldwide Words". Archived from the original on 20 July 2009.
  2. ^ "Sustaining Lives in Despair: A Pracademic Approach to the Pandemic", Jon Van Til (unpublished).
  3. ^ "Article" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Pracademic Newsletter". Archived from the original on 28 August 2008. Retrieved 8 February 2009.
  5. ^ Maria R Volpe and David Chandler, Resolving and Managing conflicts in Academic Communities: The Emerging Role of the "Pracademic", Negotiation Journal, Vol 17 Iss 3, P245-255, 2001, Wiley InterScience
  6. ^ Willard T. Price, A Pracademic Research Agenda for Public Infrastructure, Public Works Management & Policy, Vol. 5, No. 4, 287-296 (2001), Sage
  7. ^ George L. Hanbury, A “Pracademic’s” Perspective of Ethics and Honor: Imperatives for Public Service in the 21st Century!, Public Organization Review, Volume 4, Number 3, September 2004 , pp. 187-204, Springer
  8. ^ "Pracademic Degree". Archived from the original on 22 September 2008.
  9. ^ James, Ross W. (17 July 2000). The transitional learning model: a handbook for training design : with special application to cross-cultural training. Vocational Education & Training Publications. ISBN 9780957764316 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ "Health Communication Resources". Health Communication Resources.
  11. ^ "ICPEM | Institute of Civil Protection and Emergency Management | Document links". Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2009.
  12. ^ Jain, R. (2013) Practitioner Research as Dissertation: Exploring the Continuities between Practice and Research in a Community College ESL Classroom. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Maryland, College Park. Retrieved from
  • Morreale, S. A. and McCabe, J. E., The “Pracademic” in Criminal Justice Education, ACJS Now, Volume 6, Issue 2, January 2012.

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