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The changing nature of Higher Education: as academics is it our responsibility to ensure that our students are employable, or are we 'simply' educators?

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Presentation on theme: "The changing nature of Higher Education: as academics is it our responsibility to ensure that our students are employable, or are we 'simply' educators?"— Presentation transcript:

1 The changing nature of Higher Education: as academics is it our responsibility to ensure that our students are employable, or are we 'simply' educators? Dr. Peter Barnes Department of Sport, Culture and the Arts

2 John Henry Newman, Oriel College, Oxford The Idea of a University The University is a temple for the teaching of universal knowledge. (specialist knowledge should be taught in an institution) The only goal of a university should be the cultivation of the intellect A university produces gentlemen trained in logic and the methods of assessing evidence (the classics) Is run by tutors who regard their office as a calling

3 John Anderson Professor of Natural Philosophy, Glasgow University Gave instructions for a place of useful learning, open to everyone, regardless of gender or class. Anderson's Institution University of Strathclyde

4 Is it true that: A competency driven model is at odds with an academically based model? Academic integrity takes second place to professional body requirements?

5 Is it true that: A competency based model is results driven – i.e. quantity of learning (outcome) An academic based model is philosophically driven – i.e. quality of learning (process)

6 Should our priorities be: employability? What employers want (/need)? competency? or - academic standards? or - what the subject dictates? or - intellectual ability?

7 The employers model for Higher Education: Academic Theory & Process Technical Skills & NGB Awards Practical Outdoor Experience

8 The employers model: Or - the university validation model - Good level of technical skills and NGB qualifications Reasonable level of practical experience Theory and process is a necessity hit the shop floor running But – issues with costs, staffing & credibility

9 The students model for Higher Education: Practical Outdoor Experience Technical Skills & NGB Awards Academic Theory & Process

10 The students model: Or - the university marketing model - Plenty of Experience Good level of Technical Skills and Awards Minimal amount of Theory and Process have fun and get a job But – academically unrealistic and has problems with student expectations

11 The academics model for Higher Education: Practical Outdoor Experience Academic Theory & Process Technical Skills & NGB Awards

12 The academics model: Or - the university finance driven model - Maximum Theory and Process Externally delivered Technical Skills and Awards Experience primarily in students own time meeting the requirments of academic credibility But – student motivation and employers expectations suffer

13 Do we need: A greater understanding of – What distinguishes a degree from a vocational qualification? What distinguishes a university from a training establishment? What distinguishes a graduate from an apprentice? What distinguishes a lecturer from a trainer?

14 Outdoor Education Organisations - surveyed 2003: 300 Outdoor Education centres/organisations surveyed via mail-shot questionnaire 48% return rate 60 closed questions & 6 open questions Designed to ascertain what potential employers would expect/need from an outdoor education degree

15 Most important requirements - results by groups: 1. Outdoor activity awards/ skills 2. Personal attributes 3. Experience 4. Group working skills 5. Communication skills 6. Knowledge & understanding 7. Problem solving skills 8. Project/ management skills 9. Information technology skills 10. Academic awards/ skills

16 The importance of Higher Education & other skills/awards: % Not neededCould be useful ImportantEssential Outdoor Education Degree Any University Degree Good all round technical skills Basic level instructor awards

17 So where are we today? Increasing under-graduate numbers Increasing number of universities Increasing need to demonstrate relevance and employability Increasing demand for externally assessed/ verified qualifications Increasing financial & staffing pressures But – do we serve a changing market place? Is it time to ditch the old models (and ideals)?

18 A Modern Model for Higher Education? Real World Experience (Experience/Placement) TechnicalProcess Professional Body or equivalent training/ awards (External/Placement) Education or equivalent training SPDP Transferable Skills Competence check lists

19 Should the priorities be: employability? What employers want (/need)? competency? and - academic standards? and - what the subject dictates? and - intellectual ability? And where does money, fte ratios, staff time, facilities, student destinations etc come into this?

20 John Henry Newman, Oriel College, Oxford The Idea of a University The University is a temple for the teaching of universal knowledge. (specialist knowledge should be taught in an institution) The only goal of a university should be the cultivation of the intellect A university produces gentlemen trained in logic and the methods of assessing evidence (the classics) Is run by tutors who regard their office as a calling

21 So can we say that: A competency driven model is always at odds with an academically based model? Academic integrity always takes second place to professional body requirements? Academics should be true to themselves?


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