Fidelma Ashe: Harnessing political theory to facilitate students' engagement


Published on

This presentation was delivered at the C-SAP dissemination event, 24 October 2011. For more information, please see

Published in: Education, Business
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Fidelma Ashe: Harnessing political theory to facilitate students' engagement

  1. 1. Harnessing Political Theory to Facilitate Students’ Engagement with Employability: A Critical Pyramid Approach Fidelma Ashe University of Ulster
  2. 2. Background <ul><li>Aims: </li></ul><ul><li>To provide a critical alternative to conventional models of increasing students’ engagement with graduate employment. </li></ul><ul><li>To gain student feedback on ‘employability’ methodologies </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Traditional approaches to Personal Development Profiling (PDP) and employability utilise skills questionnaires, learning portfolios and skills building activities with little reference to critical subject specific knowledge. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Background <ul><li>Bespoke skills modules tend to address aspects of student employability by separating the concept of employability from subject specific knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>These modes of delivery may filter out a range of critical issues surrounding graduate employability such as the activities of the state, political culture and graduates’ socio-economic identities </li></ul>
  5. 5. Outcomes <ul><li>Students engage with employability in an </li></ul><ul><li>Uncritical fashion </li></ul><ul><li>Autonomous fashion </li></ul><ul><li>The problem of employability is reduced to the individual student </li></ul>
  6. 6. The project <ul><li>Graduate employability sessions delivered through year one political thought module </li></ul><ul><li>6 lectures </li></ul><ul><li>3 tutorials </li></ul>
  7. 7. Resources <ul><li>Subject specific content </li></ul><ul><li>Learning pyramid </li></ul><ul><li>Learning portfolio </li></ul>
  8. 8. Key themes
  9. 9. Outcomes <ul><li>Portfolios reflect critical learning </li></ul><ul><li>Questionnaires at beginning/conclusion indicated increased critical understanding of the arena of graduate employment. </li></ul><ul><li>Both indicated that students understood the factors that impact on graduate employment and had considered strategies within that context. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Reflections <ul><li>Too much material was covered. </li></ul><ul><li>The students were very interested in the relationship between identity and graduate employment indicating this was a suitable lens for critical engagement </li></ul><ul><li>Need to build on this in later years </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>The project had tried to politicise graduate employment sessions </li></ul><ul><li>The students also embraced the personal in the sessions </li></ul>
  12. 12. Conclusions <ul><li>The project illustrates that knowledge does not have to be divided in to critical and compliant aspects to address graduate employment in Politics degrees. </li></ul><ul><li>Critical knowledge supports our students in terms of securing graduate employment </li></ul>