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Transaction or transformation

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Presentation given at ISMO Conference, Greenwich University 8-9th December 2014

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Transaction or transformation

  1. 1. Transaction or Transformation? How does a modern university respond to an increasingly consumerist student body. Dr Michael G Hamlyn Prof Rune Todnem By Staffordshire University
  2. 2. University Challenge: to satisfy both the transactional demands of their students, while still trying to remain true to their conviction of the transformational nature of higher education
  3. 3. • changing environment in which a modern university has to operate • reducing the value of a degree to being viewed as simply a passport to employability • student satisfaction becomes a key institutional motivator, changing the role of university? • roles of pedagogy and underpinning scholarship, technology, graduate attributes, and leadership
  4. 4. The new university environment • New fees for undergraduates • Increased charges for part time students • Increased use of external metrics
  5. 5. What is a university for – John Henry Newman The University [...] has this object and this mission; it contemplates neither moral impression nor mechanical production; it professes to exercise the mind neither in art nor in duty; its function is intellectual culture; here it may leave its scholars, and it has done its work when it has done as much as this. It educates the intellect to reason well in all matters, to reach out towards truth, and to grasp it John Everett Millais [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
  6. 6. What are universities for? – Stefan Collini • “public perception of universities focuses too much on their teaching role” • But “they have become an important medium for conserving understanding extending and handing on intellectual scientific and artistic heritage.” • “This wider perspective may help us become more aware of the limitations of treating economic growth as the overriding test of value”
  7. 7. What are universities for? • O’Byrne and Bond – 3 paradigms • Academic • Managerial • Consumerist – Tensions between these pairs • Wend Byrne and By – Renewal of collegiality Darren O’Byrne and Christopher Bond (2014): Back to the future: the idea of a university revisited, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 2014, Vol. 36, No. 6, 571–584, Bernard Burnes , Petra Wend & Rune Todnem By (2013): The changing face of English universities: reinventing collegiality for the twenty-first century, Studies in Higher Education, DOI:10.1080/03075079.2012.754858
  8. 8. academic university intellectual engagement, in which the chief values are the inherent value of knowledge, free and critical thinking, diversification and disciplinary integrity, and a passion for scholarship and research. consumerist managerial performance indicators and league tables, quality assurance processes and their impact on the curriculum, the standardisation of practices and the rhetoric of employability, and continual restructuring. an obsession with the National Student Survey and the concept of ‘student satisfaction’…. possessive individualism
  9. 9. The rise of the student consumer • Browne Review of Higher Education – “Students need access to high quality information, advice and guidance in order to make the best choices.” • Increased focus on NSS • Which? report – Degrees of Value • Are students good users of information?
  10. 10. Impact of the Student as consumer • Initiatives on improving student satisfaction – NSS • Increased focus on University employability and enterprise initiatives • Focus on short term graduate employability – DLHE • All outcomes reinforced through KIS, league table, Which? • Does this reduce Higher Education to a service or product that can be bought?
  11. 11. Transactional view • Education as training • As preparation for the world of work • Reductive view of higher education • But….are our students really that easily fooled? • Still interesting, still challenging, still exploring ideas and creating their own view of the world
  12. 12. Henry Giroux – a new brutalism “Viewed as a private investment rather than a public good, universities are now construed as spaces where students are valued as human capital, courses are determined by consumer demand…….. in particular, the ideal of the university as a vital public good no longer fits into a revamped discourse of progress, largely defined in terms of economic growth.” (Giroux) “Universities should individually or collectively offer contracts to their students, who would agree to pay to the university they attended a given percentage of their earnings. That percentage could vary by course and institution, though some agreement between universities could be helpful to achieve standardisation” (IEA)
  13. 13. Market and non Market Benefits of HE • HE is broader than transactional – it always has been transformational • Danger of focussing just on satisfying the transactional consumerist view is that we could lose the transformational part • BIS review of benefits of HE – Market vs non market – Individual vs society
  14. 14. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/25410 1/bis-13-1268-benefits-of-higher-education-participation-the-quadrants.pdf
  15. 15. A Balancing act • What students want – or at least what they have been told that they want • What universities want • How do we bridge the gap?
  16. 16. Pedagogy and underpinning scholarship Technology, Graduate attributes, Leadership and management
  17. 17. Pedagogy • Student engagement in learning and teaching design • Problem and practice based learning – Teamworking and communication – Solving real world dilemmas – Authentic learning experiences – Underpinned by scholarship – Student led research • Better management of student centred learning and expectations
  18. 18. Technology • Not a solution in and of itself • To support new forms of student led and staff supported pedagogy • Wireless, always-on access to information • Collaboration and creation of learning • Use tech to move from information transmission to curation of knowledge
  19. 19. How do we make our students successful when: Half of what they learn in the first year is out of date by the time they graduate? They will have maybe 10 different jobs by the age of 34? The jobs they will do don’t even exist yet using technology that isn't invented yet, to solve problems we don’t know are problems yet? 100 Billion queries a month on Google – who did we ask before? 90% of the data in the world was created in the last 2 years? There are more students in the top 5% in China than all of the students in the UK?
  20. 20. Graduate Attributes • Previously driven by managerial paradigm, to ensure consistency, and respond to perceived employer needs • Academic body can use attributes to demonstrate wider HE benefit – hacking or subverting the university? • Employability outcomes will satisfy consumerist paradigm
  21. 21. Professional you will be work-ready and employable, and understand the importance of being enterprising and entrepreneurial. Global Citizen you will have an understanding of global issues, including sustainability, and their place in a globalised economy Communication and Teamwork you will be an effective communicator and presenter, able to interact appropriately with colleagues. You’ll have developed the skills of independence of thought and social interaction through teamwork Life-long Learner you will be technologically, digitally and information literate. You’ll be able to apply the Staffordshire Graduate attributes to your life experiences, for life-long learning and life-long success Reflective and Critical you will be able to carry out inquiry-based learning and critical analysis. You’ll be a problem solver and a creator of opportunities. Discipline Expert your knowledge will be at the forefront of your chosen field
  22. 22. Leadership “it may be argued that the actions of many senior managers in universities are not as strategic, transformational and as well thought out as they maintain. Instead, research seems to show that many are still unprepared and untrained for their posts, quickly lose touch with the day-to-day reality of university life, tend to act in a short-term, transactional and inconsistent fashion, and over-focus on boxticking exercises designed to appease funding bodies”. Bernard Burnes , Petra Wend & Rune Todnem By (2013): The changing face of English universities: reinventing collegiality for the twenty-first century, Studies in Higher Education, DOI:10.1080/03075079.2012.754858
  23. 23. A return to collegiality • allow senior managers the flexibility to respond to changing circumstances whilst creating a new form of local/departmental collegiality. • senior managers to work with staff to develop a ‘commonly understood strategic intent’. • involve all staff in re-establishing and re-affirming their rationale and purpose
  24. 24. academic university Relevant and modern pedagogy Graduate attributes that reflect consumer demands as well as academic ideals consumerist managerial Shared understanding of all parties’ contribution to performance indicators and league tables outcomes, shared purpose Awareness of greater benefit as well as key metrics Active engagement in learning and governance
  25. 25. References • Darren O’Byrne and Christopher Bond (2014): Back to the future: the idea of a university revisited, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 2014, Vol. 36, No. 6, 571–584, • Bernard Burnes , Petra Wend & Rune Todnem By (2013): The changing face of English universities: reinventing collegiality for the twenty-first century, Studies in Higher Education, DOI:10.1080/03075079.2012.754858 • https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attach ment_data/file/254101/bis-13-1268-benefits-of-higher-education-participation- the-quadrants.pdf • Henry A Giroux: Higher Education and the New Brutalism, via http://truth-out.org/news/item/27082-henry-a-giroux-higher-education- and-the-new-brutalism accessed 5-12-14 • Stefan Colini: What are Universities for? Publisher: Penguin (2012) ISBN-13: 978-1846144820
  26. 26. @mikehamlyn blogs.staffs.ac.uk/mikehamlyn/

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