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Does Employer Engagement Threaten Student Centredness?

By John Craig, Dawn Beckett and Robin J. Kiteley

Abstract

Employer engagement has become a key theme in UK Government Higher Education Policy in recent years. Universities and other higher education providers are encouraged to work with employers in the design and delivery of courses that can provide the skills required for the economy over the coming decades. In the words of DIUS (2007: 50) “‘Business facing’ should be a description with which any higher education institution feels comfortable”.\ud \ud \ud It is widely acknowledged by both advocates and critics of this policy, that its pursuit presents profound challenges to the culture and relationships that currently characterise higher education. For example, a recent report from the CBI (2008: 11), sponsored by UUK and HEFCE, calls upon Universities to “rethink the traditional university-student relationship to give employers a central role”. However, as Drake, Blake and Swallow (2009) argue, for such courses to be successful, it is necessary not just to engage the employer, but also the individual employee. \ud \ud \ud This session explores these tensions and challenges by raising a range of questions for those attending and offering some tentative answers based on the experiences of staff and students engaged in the context of the Foundation Degree in Police Studies course delivered by the University of Huddersfield. This is one of the largest Foundation Degrees within the UK and is delivered to all trainees Police Officers within the West Yorkshire Constabulary. As such it provides an important context within which these issues can be explored. \ud \ud \ud The session will make use of interview material to allow a diverse range of student voices to be heard and participants will be invited to share their responses and reflections

Topics: HD, LB2300
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.hud.ac.uk:6487

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