Presentation on theme: "E MPLOYABILITY IN THE P HILOSOPHY C URRICULUM Clare Saunders University of Birmingham Valuing Philosophy Degrees: Enhancing Employability 23 March 2012,"— Presentation transcript:
E MPLOYABILITY IN THE P HILOSOPHY C URRICULUM Clare Saunders University of Birmingham Valuing Philosophy Degrees: Enhancing Employability 23 March 2012, Birmingham City University
S TRUCTURE OF THIS SESSION Why employability in the philosophy curriculum? – a brief introduction How? – exploring options
D EFINITIONS OF EMPLOYABILITY a set of achievements – skills, understandings and personal attributes – that makes graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations, which benefits themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy Yorke, M (2006). Employability in higher education: what it is – what it is not. York: Higher Education Academy. Definitional caveats: It is probabilistic. There is no certainty that the possession of a range of desirable characteristics will convert employability into employment: there are too many extraneous socio-economic variables… Skills and knowledge should not be construed in narrow terms. The gaining of a graduate job, and success in it, should not be conflated. The choice of occupation is, for many graduates, likely to be constrained. (Note here the value to the graduate of adaptability and flexibility.) It may not be possible to maximise the benefits to all interested parties.
W HY EMPLOYABILITY IN PHILOSOPHY ? Employability = ? A natural fit with philosophy? Or a distraction from core academic business? Why do employability? Stakeholder expectations… Good philosophers = employable graduates? JS Mill (1867) Prof Sir Tim Wilson (2012) Universities are not intended… to make skillful lawyers, or physicians or engineers, but capable and cultivated human beings… The governments aspiration is to create a system within which the employment aspirations of fee-paying students… will encourage universities to increase support for students in the context of employability…
HEFCE REQUIREMENTS Employability statements (from August 2010) HEFCE has asked all higher education institutions and HEFCE- funded further education colleges to publish employability statements on the help they provide to students to improve their employability and transition into work. Key information sets (from September 2012) Under new arrangements published jointly… by HEFCE, Universities UK and GuildHE, universities and colleges in England will be required to publish a KIS for each undergraduate course they offer. The KIS is an online summary of information about: student satisfaction; learning and assessment; financial costs and support; employment outcomes; and professional body recognition.
M OCK K EY I NFORMATION S ET
E NTERPRISE AND E MPLOYER E NGAGEMENT Wilson (2012) review recommendations incl. Universities should publish the job destinations of recent full-time postgraduate taught students, by department Universities should publish the job destinations of recently completed doctoral students, where possible by department Universities should… ensure that students have the opportunity to develop enterprise skills…
T HE EMPLOYABILITY OF PHILOSOPHERS ?
G RADUATE DESTINATIONS VS. GRADUATE CAREERS Philosophy - and other humanities - graduates appear to fare badly in the first destination survey (6 months after graduation)… … but have a strong track record in longitudinal studies (e.g. Royal Institute of Philosophy, 1986); and… … outperform graduates from nearly every other discipline on US graduate admissions tests: Students who major in a field characterised by formal thought, structural relationships, abstract models, symbolic language, and deductive reasoning consistently outperform others (Adelman 1982: 39)
A C AREERS A DVISER S P ERSPECTIVE Philosophers and Career Choice Diversity of options Exploratory style leads to slower decision making Ambition to stay in HE Unemployment rate below national average of 6.7% Employability Issues for Philosophers No direct link to major career area Frustration with any degree category Mixed ability to articulate skills and relate them to the job market Comparisons made with vocational degrees and courses with strong employer links
E MPLOYABILITY VS. ACADEMIC DEMANDS ? Cognitive skills – analysis, attention to detail, judgement, planning and organising Generic competencies – influencing, interpersonal sensitivity, listening, questioning, written communication Personal capabilities – achievement orientation, adaptability / flexibility, creativity, decisiveness, initiative, leadership, lifelong learning and development… Philosophical skills – articulacy, logical thinking, sensitivity in interpretation, clarity and rigour, ability to analyse arguments, consider unfamiliar ideas and ways of thinking… Engaging in philosophical debate – ability to work with others, cross traditional subject boundaries… Breadth of view Generic skills Personal attributes Council for Industry and Higher Education Philosophy Benchmark Statement
E MPLOYABILITY IN PHILOSOPHY – HOW ? What does your department currently do to develop students employability? Within/beyond the curriculum? With/for different stakeholders? Current students – undergraduate, postgraduate Prospective students (and their parents, careers advisers…) Others in your HEI (e.g. support units, senior management) Employers What else could/should you do?
S OURCES OF FURTHER INFORMATION AND SUPPORT Higher Education Academy Subject specific publications and resources: Funding for projects and events: Your HEI colleagues (e.g.) Careers service Academic development unit Quality Assurance Agency (e.g.) Guidance on careers, enterprise and entrepreneurship education Summaries of best practice from institutional audits Enhancement Themes including Graduates for the 21st Century