A proposal for working with higher education


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A proposal for working with higher education

  1. 1. A proposal forworking with HigherEducationNEWELL HAMPSON-JONES, Education Sector Representative, BSISpeech delivered Tuesday, 27th July, 2010 -1-
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  3. 3. This presentation is a brief presentation of how BSI has approached education in thepast and how the new Education Sector Representative is hoping to work specificallywith higher education to support the sector through a period of uncertainty and make anew generation enthusiastic about standards and standardization.Previous BSI ActivitiesBSI’s previous focus was mainly Key Stage 2 – Sixth Form, with a number of projects,the most successful of which was the BSI Education website, which won the inauguralEuropean Committee for Standardization (CEN) and European Committee forElectrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) PR award for best website contribution.Parallel to these activities there were also higher education linked initiatives. BSIsupported research studies, some of which are ongoing, by Dr Henk de Vries and DrKnut Blind, two of the industry’s most renowned standardization researchers. TheInternational Journal of Quality Standards was formed and can still be found on theBSI Education website, providing peer-reviewed standardization research frominternational academics. BSI has also engaged in collaborative projects withuniversities prior to standards development work, these being research studies toinfluence the need, scope and direction of standards.BSI has been successfully active in the education sector, but partly due to the academicfreedoms that autonomy provides universities, it is clear that there is a need to focus onthe higher education sector so that we can ensure students understand standards andstandardization-a skill set which can be a benefit to have in the workplace.Feedback from Higher EducationIn my eight months in post, I have received some great feedback which would appearto agree with this assessment. From a number of meetings and communications with thevarious areas of the sector, we’ve heard the following:On teaching standards: • Standards are important, but difficult to teach. Many academics feel they and colleagues teaching standards do not fully understand what they are and how they’re made.Resource Availability • Many academics are not confident about teaching standards due to lack of resources • Standards themselves are perceived as expensive for students to research, which in itself, is an interesting point I shall come back to later.With regards to Academic involvement: • Some academics believed that the cost of being involved in standard development makes it difficult to take part, especially in the current economic environment.But on the subject of standardization and research I was told: • Standards could be a vehicle for getting research to market, of which the UK has been traditionally slow. • A collaborative group could be beneficial; listening to the industry’s needs and setting out BSI’s objectives. -3-
  4. 4. There are clearly specific needs in the sector that I believe we have to address and Iwould like to quickly propose how BSI can meet those needs.Standardization EducationMy key concern is not to get standards taught on degrees’ syllabi, many relevantcourses already teach standards, it is to change the way standards are taught. It is mypersonal belief that some academics are not teaching standards in a way thateffectively helps students understand them. I have heard tales of lecturers talking ofstandards as if they weren’t written by anyone but just exist.“Here is a standard, now go forth and learn it.”I think we should look at raising awareness of the context of standardization, meaningwe need not just to educate students, but the academics as well, to encourage moreenthusiasm and understanding of how standardization can be a tool for innovation thatall could be a part of. This would benefit BSI in years to come with strengthenedcommittee membership and a new perspective to the standardization process.It sounds simple to say, but how do we do this? If we were to create an adaptablelecture which can be delivered to students regarding the context and history ofstandardization with a later focus on standards that may be relevant to the student, Ithink we would have an excellent tool that lecturers could use to reach this objective.Alongside this, we can create a seminar plan for a simulation exercise putting thestudents in a committee meeting writing their own standard. The work here can becompared to an existing standard, hopefully showing a number of differences whichwill encourage students to get involved so that they can make the changes they feelare needed to standards. Ideally, this could be done for a standard up for publiccomment, this way we can immediately feed the student’s ideas back to the committeeand they can follow the progress of the standard’s creation.Should this approach become successful and gain popularity, I would propose we alsorecorded a video lecture for delivery on distance learning courses, to give students apermanent reference to standardization or use as backup training resources foracademics.This can then be the springboard for creating an online module, which could be anelective choice for university degrees or short courses in their own right.We are already making progress with these ideas and I’m very pleased to say thatthe support from academics and universities so far has been fantastic, contributing toensuring the students get the best experience possible.Standardization ResearchStandardization research can be a vital tool for increasing awareness of the rolestandards play in the economy and industry. It can also help with demystifying theprocess and providing more transparency, to make it more accessible to end users whomay not understand it.As awareness increases we can hopefully lead the way in innovating the process,listening to ideas from a fresh outlook.Ideally I’d like to be able to assist academics in securing support from research fundingbodies, like the Technology Strategy Board, for study in this area or to create withinthese bodies a fund for standardization impact research which can be applied in theworkplace or used to help educate students. -4-
  5. 5. I also propose that BSI continues to work with university research departments on anystandards associated research that they may wish to embark on.Working TogetherThe most important aspect of this proposal is to ensure that both BSI and the sector canwork together. I have been using online and social media extensively to communicatewith the sector, example of which can include commenting on HE focused blogs &articles, utilising networking sites like LinkedIn and academia.edu and keeping in touchon Twitter.Online support is great, but just as important-if not more so-is meeting with individualsfrom a wide spectrum of areas in the industry to gather feedback, advice and ideas. Itis important to understand what the stakeholders of our work feel is needed, ratherthan dictate how to proceed and I hope this attitude has been reflected in my work sofar and continues to be in the future.In the longer term, I hope to create a proactive collaborative group to encourageinvolvement from academics, key decision makers and students. I should also take thismoment to add that our international activities with CEN and ISO will be just asimportant in maintaining BSIs position as industry innovators.One of my main goals will be to bring more academics in to the standardizationprocess, inviting to relevant committees. I would also hope to increase studentinvolvement through BSI’s standards development website or the standards proposalportal-both initiatives that I think are excellent tools to add transparency in the processand engage end users.Students will also be important in identifying gaps where BSI can provide solutions tohelp with their learning. With this in mind, if you will allow me to revisit my earlierpoint where I was told that standards are expensive for students to research, we alsoneed to communicate to students and lecturers the resources that are already freelyavailable to them. Most universities have access to the British Standards Onlinelibraries, but there have been many instances where students or academics areunaware of this. Through closely working with the sector we can also inform them ofwhere further resources, like BSI’s YouTube channel or the International Journal ofQuality Standards, are available for them to get the most out of learning aboutstandardization.With the proposals mentioned today, I truly believe we can help universities andstudents through this period of austerity gain more from services BSI can offer andbenefit from increased awareness of standards and the standardization process. I’dlike to thank you for listening and to add that the work presented here would benothing without the input of the people I have met and worked with both in BSI and thehigher education sector. With that in mind, I always welcome comments andsuggestions and-most importantly-any questions you might have. -5-
  6. 6. If you would like to get in touch regarding this speech, please contact:Newell Hampson-JonesEducation Sector RepresentativeBSI Group389 Chiswick High Road, London W4 4ALT: +44 (0)20 8996 7227M: +44 (0)7767 886 713E: newell.hampson-jones@bsigroup.comNewell Hampson-Jones - BiographyNewell Hampson-Jones is the new BSI Education Sector Representative. He hasspent most of his career working within Higher Education at a variety of levels. Startingin administrative student facing roles, Newell has worked on a number of large scaleprojects, including implementing policy for the new Tier 4 Points Based System, co-designing a raft of post-graduate business degrees and managing the studentexperience for those programmes at a private business school.Newell joined BSI in January 2010 as Education Sector Representative, charged withraising awareness and participation in standardization throughout the HigherEducation sector and becoming a point of liaison for the sector for any issues relatingto standards. He represents BSI and the UK Higher Education sector on theCEN/CENELEC Joint Working Group on Education about Standardization. -6-