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Article
Publication date: 11 February 2019

Rachel Maxwell and Alejandro Armellini

The purpose of this paper is to introduce an evidence-based, transferable framework of graduate attributes and associated university toolkit to support the writing of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce an evidence-based, transferable framework of graduate attributes and associated university toolkit to support the writing of level-appropriate learning outcomes that enable the university to achieve its mission to Transform Lives + Inspire Change.

Design/methodology/approach

An iterative process of co-design and co-development was employed to produce both the framework and the associated learning outcomes toolkit.

Findings

There is tangible benefit in adopting an integrated framework that enables students to develop personal literacy and graduate identity. The toolkit enables staff to write assessable learning outcomes that support student progression and enable achievement of the framework objective.

Research limitations/implications

While the framework has been in use for two years, institutional use of the toolkit is still in its early stages. Phase 2 of the project will explore how effectively the toolkit achieves the framework objective.

Practical implications

The introduction of a consistent, integrated framework enables students to develop and actively increase personal literacy through the deliberate construction of their unique graduate identity.

Social implications

Embedding the institutional Changemaker attributes alongside the agreed employability skills enables students to develop and articulate specifically what it means to be a “Northampton graduate”.

Originality/value

The uniqueness of this project is the student-centred framework and the combination of curricular, extra- and co-curricular initiatives that provide a consistent language around employability across disciplines. This is achieved through use of the learning outcomes toolkit to scaffold student progression.

Details

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-3896

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2015

Bethany Alden Rivers, Alejandro Armellini and Ming Nie

The purpose of this paper is to propose an attributes framework for embedding “Changemaker” – a university initiative for promoting social innovation and social impact …

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose an attributes framework for embedding “Changemaker” – a university initiative for promoting social innovation and social impact – across the disciplines at the University of Northampton.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on the authors’ (2015) phenomenographic study that proposed five different conceptions of Changemaker held by academic staff: (1) Changemaker as institutional strategy; (2) Changemaker as critical thinking, perspective shifting and problem solving; (3) Changemaker as employability; (4) Changemaker as social betterment; and (5) Changemaker as personal transformation. The present study explores pedagogic literature to identify skills, behaviours and attributes associated with each of these five categories.

Findings

Findings from this literature review inform a set of Changemaker attributes, which offers a framework to consider skills and behaviours associated with the five conceptions of Changemaker.

Research limitations/implications

The conceptions of Changemaker, that form the basis of the Changemaker attributes, represent the beliefs of teaching staff at the University of Northampton. Despite inherent limitations, the approach of using practice-based empirical findings to develop pedagogical tools may be of direct benefit to other education providers as they develop their own models for teaching and learning.

Practical implications

The Changemaker attributes will be used by the University of Northampton during the design, approval and review of courses to ensure that social innovation and social impact is embedded across the disciplines. Academic staff can refer these attributes when designing assessments and for inspiration towards innovative teaching practice.

Originality/value

The findings of this study will provide a point of reference for other higher education institutions as they look for guidance on embedding social innovation and social impact into their curriculum.

Details

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-3896

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 13 July 2015

Bethany Alden Rivers, Ming Nie and Alejandro Armellini

The purpose of this paper is to report on a study aimed at understanding the different conceptions that University of Northampton teachers hold of “Changemaker”, an…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report on a study aimed at understanding the different conceptions that University of Northampton teachers hold of “Changemaker”, an institutional initiative to develop capacities for social innovation.

Design/methodology/approach

The study took a phenomenographic approach to identify a small number of qualitatively different conceptions of Changemaker among teaching staff. Face-to-face, phenomenographic interviews were carried out with 30 teachers across the university. Transcript data were analysed using thematic inductive analysis.

Findings

Five different conceptions of Changemaker were found: Changemaker as university strategy; Changemaker as critical thinking, perspective shifting and problem solving; Changemaker as employability; Changemaker as social betterment; and Changemaker as personal transformation.

Research limitations/implications

The outcome space of conceptions represents the beliefs of teaching staff at the University of Northampton. The approach to research and plans for the practical application of findings may be of direct benefit to other education providers as they develop their own models for teaching and learning.

Practical implications

The findings from this study will inform the next phase of the project, which involves the development of a skills/attributes/behaviours matrix for social innovation education.

Social implications

An initiative, such as Changemaker, works to enhance the capacities of university students to work as agents of positive social change. By building a research programme around this initiative, the findings from this work can be disseminated and used by other higher education institutions.

Originality/value

The findings of this study will address the absence of literature on teachers’ conceptions of phenomena related to social innovation, social entrepreneurship and intrepreneurship. Understanding teachers’ beliefs of such phenomena is relevant to the growing number of universities that address these subjects in the curriculum.

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Article
Publication date: 9 November 2015

Bethany Alden Rivers, Alejandro Armellini, Rachel Maxwell, Sue Allen and Chris Durkin

– The purpose of this paper is to propose a theoretical framework to support the embedding of social innovation education in existing academic programmes.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose a theoretical framework to support the embedding of social innovation education in existing academic programmes.

Design/methodology/approach

By adopting Conole et al.’s (2004) methodological approach to reviewing, mapping and modelling learning theory, this study addresses four research questions: how can social innovation education be defined? Which learning theories best support social innovation education? How do such learning theories relate to existing models of learning in higher education? What implications does a social innovation pedagogy have for learning design?

Findings

Findings suggest that social innovation education is supported by a praxis that is grounded in critical learning theory, transformational learning theory and epistemological development. By extending Conole et al.’s (2004) model of learning theory, the present study proposes a “zone of pedagogical praxis for social innovation education” that supports learning design on a more critical plane.

Research limitations/implications

The proposed model of learning may be of interest to other universities as they work towards stronger thinkers and stronger communities.

Practical implications

Using a theory-informed model for learning design nurtures a pedagogical praxis and underpins the development of a practical toolkit for designing social innovation education.

Originality/value

The findings of this study will provide a point of reference for other higher education institutions as they look for guidance on embedding principles of social innovation into their curricula.

Details

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, vol. 5 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-3896

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 10 August 2015

Ruth Heyler

Abstract

Details

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-3896

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