Future of Learning in Higher Education Summit
16-17 Feb 2015 Sydney
1
Graduate employability –
are employers and academics...
2
Project Team
Project Team
leader
A/ Prof Margaret Jollands, School of Civil Environmental and Chemical
Engineering
RMIT ...
3
To align expectations of stakeholders from diverse disciplines, to
develop an employability framework, and to identify g...
4
To align expectations of stakeholders from diverse disciplines, to
develop an employability framework, and to identify g...
A series of round table meetings, focus groups and interviews to engage with
stakeholders
 Research papers
 Employabilit...
Professional bodies (PB)
Engineering Engineers Australia
Information and
Computer Technology
Australian Computer Society
L...
Employment outcomes
by discipline1
1. Graduate Destination Survey 2014. Melbourne: Graduate Careers Australia
0
10
20
30
4...
8
Employment trends
1. Graduate Destination Survey 2014. Melbourne: Graduate Careers Australia
Employment
characteristics
• Disciplines with high employment outcomes
• Full time positions
• Large companies
• Program a...
What do employers
want?2
2. Graduate Outlook 2013 The Report of the Graduate Outlook Survey: Employers’ Perspectives on Gr...
3. Radloff, A., et al. 2012 University Experience Survey National Report. Department of Industry Innovation, Science,
Rese...
Research questions
Employers & Professional bodies:
 What skills and attitudes do you look for in graduates?
 What don’t...
The framework used in
our analysis4
13
4. Dacre Pool, L.,& Sewell, P. (2007). The key to employability: developing a pract...
CareerEDGE framework
categories & items
Career
development
learning
* Passion and interests * What suits your personality*...
15
Employer/PB perspective:
What do they want?
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
Career Experience Subject knowledge Generic skills Emoti...
16
Engineering
Career
Development
Learning
Business Acumen* ■
Career Planning ■
Knowledge of Industry
and Job Market ■
Net...
17
Employers/PB Perspective:
what do they want?
Engineering
Generic Skills
Adaptability
Communication ■
Critical Thinking ...
18
Engineering
Life
Sciences
Media &
Comms
Career
Development
Learning
Business Acumen* ■ ■
Career Planning ■
Knowledge of...
19
Employers/PB Perspective:
what do they want?
Engineering
Life
Sciences
Media &
Comms
Generic Skills
Adaptability ■ ■
Co...
Employer/PB Perspective:
what do they want?
 Similarities between disciplines
 Broad and varied skills and attributes
 ...
Employers ■ versus
Academics ☺
Engineering Life Sciences
Media &
Comms
Career
Development
Learning
Business Acumen* ■ ■
Ca...
Employers ■ versus
Academics ☺
22
Engineering Life Sciences
Media &
Comms
Generic Skills
Adaptability ■ ■ ☺
Communication ...
Are academics on the
same page as employers?
 Academic perspectives on employability matched
industry well.
 Cognitive c...
Employer/PB perspective:
Knowledge of industry
24
the usuals, why do
you want to work for
this firm, this sort of
stuff…
(...
Academic perspective:
Knowledge of industry
25
only one was
available to come
out into the field and
meet the Engineer
wor...
Employer/PB perspective:
Communication
26
…they’ve got to look
at technical
knowledge, great
marks, and fantastic,
but if ...
Academic perspective:
Communication
27
Some of the final
year students are
still struggling with
basic [writing] skills
(P...
Employer/PB perspective:
Teamwork
28
we want someone
who is comfortable
working in the team
and working with
others and al...
Academic perspective:
Teamwork
29
Well from time to
time students will
complain, some
students will say all
my team member...
Where are academics
really?
 Academic perspectives on employability matched
industry well
 But there is a wide range of ...
Student perspective:
Communication
31
But overall having a
conversation with
you is a big criteria.
(Engineering
student)
...
Why?
[Graduate attributes initiatives in the United Kingdom]
‘have had little impact so far, in part because of teachers'
...
Issues for implementation
1. Conceptions: the different understandings people have about the very nature of graduate attri...
Issues for implementation
1. Conceptions: the different understandings people have about the very nature of graduate attri...
Where to from here?
Authenticity
• Capstone projects
• Industry projects
• Industry practice
• Professional practice
Asses...
36
Thank You!
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Associate Professor Margaret Jollands - RMIT University - Graduate employability - are employers and academics on the same page?

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Associate Professor Margaret Jollands delivered this presentation at the 2015 Future of Learning Summit. The conference included presentations on achieving high levels of student satisfaction, the impacts of deregulation, and how to lead change in teaching & learning.

Find out more at http://bit.ly/1aOk8yZ

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Associate Professor Margaret Jollands - RMIT University - Graduate employability - are employers and academics on the same page?

  1. 1. Future of Learning in Higher Education Summit 16-17 Feb 2015 Sydney 1 Graduate employability – are employers and academics on the same page? Associate Professor Margaret Jollands, RMIT University Lead Investigator OLT Commissioned Project on Graduate Employability
  2. 2. 2 Project Team Project Team leader A/ Prof Margaret Jollands, School of Civil Environmental and Chemical Engineering RMIT University Project Team member Ms Bronwyn Clarke, Director of Programs, School of Media and Communication RMIT University Project Team member A/Prof Danilla Grando, Program Leader Biotechnology, School of Applied Science RMIT University Project Team member A/Prof Margaret Hamilton, School of Computer Science and Information Technology RMIT University Project Team member A/Prof John Smith, School of Civil Environmental and Chemical Engineering RMIT University Project Team member Dr Sophia Xenos, School of Health Science RMIT University Project Team member A/Prof Angela Carbone, Associate Director, Office Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) Monash University Project Team member Prof Lorelle Burton, Professor of Psychology, School of Psychology, Counselling and Community The University of Southern Queensland Project Officer s Cathy Pocknee and Sheila Thomas, School of Civil Environmental and Chemical Engineering RMIT University Research Assistant Ms Megan Brodie, School of Civil Environmental and Chemical Engineering RMIT University
  3. 3. 3 To align expectations of stakeholders from diverse disciplines, to develop an employability framework, and to identify good practice curriculum that promotes graduate employability. Project Mission Stakeholders: • Employers • Professional bodies • Students • Graduates • Academics
  4. 4. 4 To align expectations of stakeholders from diverse disciplines, to develop an employability framework, and to identify good practice curriculum that promotes graduate employability. Project Mission Stakeholders: • Employers • Professional bodies • Students • Graduates • Academics Disciplines: • Engineering • Information and Computer Technology (ICT) • Life Sciences • Media and Communications • Psychology * * *
  5. 5. A series of round table meetings, focus groups and interviews to engage with stakeholders  Research papers  Employability framework  A booklet of best practice vignettes  Final report to be published on www.olt.gov.au 5 Project deliverables
  6. 6. Professional bodies (PB) Engineering Engineers Australia Information and Computer Technology Australian Computer Society Life Sciences Australian Society for Microbiology Media & Communications Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance Psychology Australian Psychological Society Australian Clinical Psychology Association
  7. 7. Employment outcomes by discipline1 1. Graduate Destination Survey 2014. Melbourne: Graduate Careers Australia 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Life Sciences Psychology Humanities Computer Science Civil Engineering Full Time Employment (%) 2012 2013 2014
  8. 8. 8 Employment trends 1. Graduate Destination Survey 2014. Melbourne: Graduate Careers Australia
  9. 9. Employment characteristics • Disciplines with high employment outcomes • Full time positions • Large companies • Program accreditation • Degree formally required for the job • Disciplines with low employment outcomes • Many part time and self employed • Small companies • Fewer jobs with formal degree requirements
  10. 10. What do employers want?2 2. Graduate Outlook 2013 The Report of the Graduate Outlook Survey: Employers’ Perspectives on Graduate Recruitment. Melbourne: Graduate Careers Australia
  11. 11. 3. Radloff, A., et al. 2012 University Experience Survey National Report. Department of Industry Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, 2012. 11 What do graduates think about their skills training at university ?3 43%
  12. 12. Research questions Employers & Professional bodies:  What skills and attitudes do you look for in graduates?  What don’t you want to see?  What are the gaps? Students, Graduates & Academics:  What do you think employers want?  What about curriculum that develops employability?  What are you doing outside uni?  What would you like to see more of in your degree? 12
  13. 13. The framework used in our analysis4 13 4. Dacre Pool, L.,& Sewell, P. (2007). The key to employability: developing a practical model of graduate employability. Education+Training, 49(4), 277-89 => Coherent, systematic. detailed, comprehensive and specific
  14. 14. CareerEDGE framework categories & items Career development learning * Passion and interests * What suits your personality*How to research the job market * How to present yourself to employers * Decisions about your career Experience *Paid work * Internships * Volunteering * Sport Degree subject * Knowledge * Understanding * Skills Generic skills *Adaptability * Communication * Creativity* Critical thinking * Entrepreneurship * IT skills * Life long learning * Numeracy * Planning * Problem solving * Teamwork * Time management * Working under pressure Emotional intelligence * Self awareness * Self management * Awareness of others * Managing others * Motivation *Ethics * Leadership *Business acumen * Professionalism
  15. 15. 15 Employer/PB perspective: What do they want? 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 Career Experience Subject knowledge Generic skills Emotional intelligence Other ENGINEERING ICT LIFE SCIENCES MEDIA & COMMS PSYCHOLOGY Dominant focus
  16. 16. 16 Engineering Career Development Learning Business Acumen* ■ Career Planning ■ Knowledge of Industry and Job Market ■ Networking ■ Passions and Interests ■ Professionalism* ■ Recruitment Processes Preparation ■ Experience ■ Degree subject knowledge ■ Employers/PB Perspective: what do they want?
  17. 17. 17 Employers/PB Perspective: what do they want? Engineering Generic Skills Adaptability Communication ■ Critical Thinking ■ Entrepreneurship Ethics* ■ Innovation and Creativity ■ Leadership* ■ Life Long Learning ■ Numeracy Problem Solving Teamwork ■ Time Management Work Ethic ■ Working under pressure ■ Emotional Intelligence Self awareness ■ Self management ■ Awareness of others Managing others ■ Motivation ■
  18. 18. 18 Engineering Life Sciences Media & Comms Career Development Learning Business Acumen* ■ ■ Career Planning ■ Knowledge of Industry and Job Market ■ ■ Networking ■ Passions and Interests ■ ■ Professionalism* ■ Recruitment Processes Preparation ■ ■ Experience ■ ■ ■ Degree subject knowledge ■ ■ ■ Employers/PB Perspective: what do they want?
  19. 19. 19 Employers/PB Perspective: what do they want? Engineering Life Sciences Media & Comms Generic Skills Adaptability ■ ■ Communication ■ ■ Critical Thinking ■ ■ ■ Entrepreneurship ■ Ethics* ■ Innovation and Creativity ■ Leadership* ■ Life Long Learning ■ ■ ■ Numeracy Problem Solving ■ Teamwork ■ ■ ■ Time Management ■ Work Ethic ■ Working under pressure ■ ■ Emotional Intelligence Self awareness ■ ■ ■ Self management ■ ■ ■ Awareness of others ■ ■ Managing others ■ ■ Motivation ■
  20. 20. Employer/PB Perspective: what do they want?  Similarities between disciplines  Broad and varied skills and attributes  Dominant focus on generic skills and emotional intelligence  Differences between disciplines  Engineering and Media & Communications very broad range of desired skills and attributes  Life Sciences not focused on career development and smaller range of generic skills
  21. 21. Employers ■ versus Academics ☺ Engineering Life Sciences Media & Comms Career Development Learning Business Acumen* ■ ■ Career Planning ■ ☺ ☺ ☺ Knowledge of Industry and Job Market ■ ☺ ☺ ■ ☺ Networking ■ ☺ ☺ Passions and Interests ■ ☺ ■ ☺ Professionalism* ■ ☺ ☺ Recruitment Processes Preparation ■ ☺ ☺ ■ ☺ Experience ■ ☺ ■ ☺ ■ ☺ Degree subject knowledge ■ ☺ ■ ☺ ■ ☺ 21
  22. 22. Employers ■ versus Academics ☺ 22 Engineering Life Sciences Media & Comms Generic Skills Adaptability ■ ■ ☺ Communication ■ ☺ ■ ☺ ☺ Critical Thinking ■ ☺ ■ ☺ ■ ☺ Entrepreneurship ■ ☺ Ethics* ■ ☺ ☺ Innovation and Creativity ■ ☺ Leadership* ■ ☺ ☺ Life Long Learning ■ ■ ■ ☺ Numeracy ☺ Problem Solving ☺ ■ ☺ Teamwork ■ ☺ ■ ☺ ■ ☺ Time Management ☺ ■ ☺ Work Ethic ■ ☺ Working under pressure ■ ■ ☺ ☺ Emotional Intelligence Self awareness ■ ■ ■ ☺ Self management ■ ■ ■ Awareness of others ☺ ■ ☺ ■ ☺ Managing others ■ ☺ ■ Motivation ■ ☺ ☺
  23. 23. Are academics on the same page as employers?  Academic perspectives on employability matched industry well.  Cognitive complexity of understanding of employability varied depending on  The nature of the industry  Weakness or intensity of Discipline/Industry connections
  24. 24. Employer/PB perspective: Knowledge of industry 24 the usuals, why do you want to work for this firm, this sort of stuff… (Engineering employer) - (Life Sciences) it’s a good sign isn’t it when they understand the landscape of that sector that they’re working in. (Media & Comms employer) nature basic complex
  25. 25. Academic perspective: Knowledge of industry 25 only one was available to come out into the field and meet the Engineer working on the project (Engineering academic) [are they aware of lack of job opportunities] …blissfully unaware (P3) I don’t think they are (P2) ..and we don’t want to burst their bubble (P3). (Life Sciences academic) the main assessment task is a personal networking report, is what we call it, whereby they must interview … minimum of four industry professionals and so they have to do a draft around that in terms of doing some research into the area (Media & Comms academic) complex basic absent
  26. 26. Employer/PB perspective: Communication 26 …they’ve got to look at technical knowledge, great marks, and fantastic, but if they can’t convey that to other engineers or to hierarchy or external to the organisation, well it’s useless to us. ..(Engineering employer) …the ability to actually listen and answer the question. (Life Sciences employer) Sort of that judgement around the appropriateness of what they’re saying and not saying, and disclosing and not disclosing, and all those sort of things. (Media & Comms employer) basic complexcomplex
  27. 27. Academic perspective: Communication 27 Some of the final year students are still struggling with basic [writing] skills (P3) I’m not teaching any my first year. I will tell them, I leave that to [another lecturer’s ] teaching practice you know. I say that’s another tactic (P1) (Engineering academic) …There’s quite a lot of feedback.. it’s about writing and what needs to be in there and how to present something very concisely cause the requirements for those reports are very prescriptive and it has to be very, very concise (P1). (Life Sciences academic) it’s about understanding whether you knew the strategy and the communication fits and the rest just comes with it as part of the package so you have to be fairly quick thinking in problem solving and take those sorts of initiatives (Media & Comms academic) basic basic complex
  28. 28. Employer/PB perspective: Teamwork 28 we want someone who is comfortable working in the team and working with others and all that sort of stuff but have the complimentary skills and behaviours. (Engineering employer) If they can't work in a team, they don't get through the door. (Life Sciences employer) I think all that sort of adaptability, emotional intelligence, some of those kind of working as a team (Media & Comms employer) complex complex basic
  29. 29. Academic perspective: Teamwork 29 Well from time to time students will complain, some students will say all my team member they are helpless, didn’t do nothing, I’m the only person doing the job. So we tell the students you know we have peer assessment and you need to write down what’s your contribution to your team work. (Engineering …. Just say the word team… you’ve got to work in a team today and do this but we don’t really explain what that means and what is successful and what’s not(P1). (Life Sciences academic) [students] feel we teach group work more than team work and they are different skills (P5)…Team work is more of a hierarchy is it ? (P4). (Media & Comms academic) basic basic basic
  30. 30. Where are academics really?  Academic perspectives on employability matched industry well  But there is a wide range of cognitive complexity of understanding of employability among academics  Media & Communications academics have a very sophisticated systematic integrated contextualised set of employability learning affordances with intense connection to practitioners  Engineering and Life Sciences academics have ad hoc or limited employability learning affordances with weak connections to practitioners
  31. 31. Student perspective: Communication 31 But overall having a conversation with you is a big criteria. (Engineering student) Communication, I suppose it would really be like oral presentations and writing and things like that. Written communication, oral communication. (Life Sciences student) They’re also looking for people who can speak well about their work, because you actually have to speak to the client and you explain the client why is your solution good and you have to rationale with the client so you have to communicate yourself really well and let the client understand because the client will not be from a design background and would understand what are you trying to say. So you have to explain it in simply way. (Media & Communications
  32. 32. Why? [Graduate attributes initiatives in the United Kingdom] ‘have had little impact so far, in part because of teachers' scepticism of the message, the messenger and its vocabulary and in part because the skills demanded lack clarity, consistency and a recognisable theoretical base.’ Bennett, N., Dunne, E., & Carré, C. (1999). Patterns of core and generic skill provision in higher education. Higher Education, 37 (1), 71- 93.
  33. 33. Issues for implementation 1. Conceptions: the different understandings people have about the very nature of graduate attributes have been shown to influence how they write policy, design curriculum and approach the development of graduate attributes; 2. Stakeholders: various groups (e.g. policy makers, students, curriculum developers, marketers, professional associations, industry groups) have different stakes in the articulation and development of graduate attributes; 3. Implementation: the way a university coordinates and approaches the implementation of its graduate attributes policy is often neglected; 4. Curriculum: curriculum planning for graduate attributes development, general curriculum structure (e.g. modular, postgraduate entry) and pedagogical features (e.g. PBL, WIL) influence the development of graduate attributes; 5. Assessment: the explicit embedding of graduate attributes in assessment is essential for policy implementation; 6. Quality Assurance: the way a higher education system, university or discipline monitors and assures the development of graduate attributes is one of the most influential drivers of effective implementation; 7. Staff Development: the way a university enables and engages staff in efforts to foster graduate attributes contributes to implementation effectiveness; and 8. Student-Centred: no matter how much effort universities put into teaching graduate attributes, the strategy has not worked unless it is perceived by students to have actively engaged them in developing worthwhile attributes 33 From: Barrie, S., Hughes, C., Smith, C. (2009) The national graduate attributes project: integration and assessment of graduate attributes in curriculum. ALTC. Retrieved on February 12 2015 from http://www.olt.gov.au/resource-library
  34. 34. Issues for implementation 1. Conceptions: the different understandings people have about the very nature of graduate attributes have been shown to influence how they write policy, design curriculum and approach the development of graduate attributes; 2. Stakeholders: various groups (e.g. policy makers, students, curriculum developers, marketers, professional associations, industry groups) have different stakes in the articulation and development of graduate attributes; 3. Implementation: the way a university coordinates and approaches the implementation of its graduate attributes policy is often neglected; 4. Curriculum: curriculum planning for graduate attributes development, general curriculum structure (e.g. modular, postgraduate entry) and pedagogical features (e.g. PBL, WIL) influence the development of graduate attributes; 5. Assessment: the explicit embedding of graduate attributes in assessment is essential for policy implementation; 6. Quality Assurance: the way a higher education system, university or discipline monitors and assures the development of graduate attributes is one of the most influential drivers of effective implementation; 7. Staff Development: the way a university enables and engages staff in efforts to foster graduate attributes contributes to implementation effectiveness; and 8. Student-Centred: no matter how much effort universities put into teaching graduate attributes, the strategy has not worked unless it is perceived by students to have actively engaged them in developing worthwhile attributes 34 From: Barrie, S., Hughes, C., Smith, C. (2009) The national graduate attributes project: integration and assessment of graduate attributes in curriculum. ALTC. Retrieved on February 12 2015 from http://www.olt.gov.au/resource-library
  35. 35. Where to from here? Authenticity • Capstone projects • Industry projects • Industry practice • Professional practice Assessment • Best practice examples • Curriculum aligned with industry practice Curriculum • Framework for employability • Generic and discipline specific learning objectives • Integrated systematically • Scaffolded complexity 35
  36. 36. 36 Thank You!

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