Smith, Rob (London: Routledge (Taylor & Francis)., 2007)
The Further and Higher Education Act (1992) brought about the incorporation of further education (FE) colleges in England and Wales. This legislation effectively removed the influence and control that Local Education Authorities (LEAs) had over the educational provision of colleges and created a quasi-market in which local colleges were forced to compete for students and funds. My research involved an investigation into how quasi-marketisation impacted upon the work and lives of teachers, middle and senior managers in three colleges in the city of Coppleton in the West Midlands region of England. I was interested in exploring how quasi-marketisation affected staff at different levels within the colleges and whether dominant cultures emerged. My findings were that the managerialist practices that became widespread through the sector as a consequence of quasi-marketisation were deployed strategically within colleges; that marketisation served to place colleges’ self-interest over the interests of students; and that the quasi-market environment impacted on data in specific (negative) ways.
Cartwright, Martin J. (Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2007)
Purpose – The paper aims to describe research undertaken in two post-1992 universities into staff perceptions of and reactions to the rhetoric of the national quality agenda in the UK as expressed by bodies such as the Quality Assurance Agency and the discourse about quality implicit in that agenda. The research examined how academic staff engaged with the discourse and the extent to which the rhetoric of quality is reflected in the day-to-day realities of post-1992 universities. Design/methodology/approach – The research involved a qualitative investigation of the personal experiences of six academics employed in two post-1992 universities and comprised in-depth interviews around three themes which were undertaken during 2005 and 2006. The data from the interviews are summarised and paraphrased in a way which faithfully and accurately captures the sense and spirit of each of the interviews as validated by the interviewees. Findings – The paper concludes that from the point of view of the academic staff who formed part of this research there is a considerable mismatch between the rhetoric of the official paragons of quality represented by the Quality Assurance Agency and the experience of quality by academic staff embroiled in the quality systems that the two universities involved in this research had developed as a consequence of the requirements of government and government agencies. Originality/value – This paper will be of interest to academics and academic managers with responsibilities for quality assurance not only in universities with mature quality assurance systems but also in those in which such systems are being introduced or developed.
In the quasi-marketised environment of the new, mass higher education (HE), centralised policy continues to dictate conditions, and traditionally stable sources of income are being made increasingly unreliable. An increasing emphasis on student support within HE institutions (HEIs) has been made necessary by targets for student numbers and the funding that rests on these numbers. These tensions have been added to for 'post-1992' universities, by the Widening Participation initiative that brings with it particular issues around recruitment and retention. Rather than focusing on the models and systems of support that are being developed in different HE settings and their effectiveness, the aim of this paper is to theorise the imperatives behind these, to look again at the context that informs their inception and how the various support structures position and identify students. Through this, the tensions that exist between financial incentives, 'bums on seats', Widening Participation and academic achievement rates will be explored.
The impetus for supporting the development of students’ learning in higher education (HE) comes as a result of the impact of a range of factors affecting the profile of undergraduate students world-wide. In the UK, the widening participation agenda is a key driver that is predicated on the premise that ‘we cannot afford to waste talent simply because of a reluctance to foster it’ (HEFCE, 2006: 9). In seeking to address the discrepancies in the participation rates between different social classes, universities in the UK are offering fair access to HE to disabled students, mature students and men and women from all ethnic backgrounds. Modern universities (founded post- 1992) especially have found that large numbers of students now come from non-traditional backgrounds, and that there are difficulties associated with supporting and fostering learning where students’ prior educational experiences are very varied (Bamber and Tett, 2000; McInnis, 2001; Zeegers and Martin, 2001). There is little value for HE institutions in attracting students on to courses if they subsequently drop out of their studies, but the factors influencing attrition rates are both wide-ranging and complex.
Rhodes, Christopher; Hollinshead, Anne; Nevill, Alan M. (London: Routledge (Taylor & Francis), 2007)
This article reports on the outcomes from an initial study to explore the job satisfaction of academics in the light of changes in higher education in the UK. The study is placed in relation to attendant concerns that the job satisfaction, motivation and morale of academic staff may be being tested. A questionnaire and semi-structured interviews were used to secure academics perceptions from two Schools of Education located within chartered and statutory universities in the English West Midlands. Thirty facets perceived important in impacting upon job satisfaction were identified and from these, key facets deemed either deeply satisfying or deeply dissatisfying to academics were established. These key facets have the potential to impact upon academic's motivation and morale as well as their job satisfaction. A typology based on the balance between key facets is presented as a means to enable manager-academics to further reflect upon possible actions within their Schools and institutions. The study captures insights relevant to informing the future research agenda and highlights the possible consequences of a laissez-faire stance to these important issues.
Charles, Suzanne; Southern, Elizabeth (Skill: National Bureau for Students with Disabilities, 2008)
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