EMBEDDING EMPLOYABILITY AND ACADEMIC SKILLS IN THE CURRICULUM Mel Prideaux firstname.lastname@example.org
Context • School decision to offer timetabled (but not programmed) opportunities for employability and academic skills development • BUT, subject specific issues as well: • ‘Preach it or teach it…’ but now ‘religion experts’ are in demand • So articulating ‘programme level learning’ is more important • Compulsory Final Year Project • A contested subject area
THEO2300 Studying Religion in Context • All level 2studying PER or TRS as single or joint honours student at the University of Leeds • Compulsory, 20 credit, ‘pass to progress’ • Students actively engaged in planning, developing and reviewing the module Key objective: Increase the coherence of, and performance in TRS BA programmesthrough provision of a skills orientated curriculum content which includes: • Developing graduate employability through reflecting on key subject –specific and general skills Four components to assessment: • 2000 word report on Method and Theory in the Study of Religions (30%) • Weekly reflective log (30%) • Skills audit (10%) • Annotated Bibliography (30%)
Taught Content • Semester one: • Three mini lecture series, plus one module orientation and one module review • Eleven seminars: • Traditional discussion to accompany mini lecture series • Thematic ‘cross-programme’ discussions • Semester two: • Mix of either weekly lecture or seminar covering skills (including literature search and review and employability) and content (discussion of issues in method and theory).
Introducing a Level 2 Skills Audit • Key objectives: • increase confidence in programme level skills and knowledge • raise awareness of transferable skills in module content • Format in first year: • A skills audit tool to identify strengths and weaknesses: • Academic skills • Employability skills • Introduced and first completed in seminar in semester one • Discussed, completed and signed off by personal tutor in semester 2 • Submitted for assessment end of semester 2
The ‘Marmite Effect’ • The module in general and the skills audit particularly:
The ‘Interactive Bit’ • Discuss the example page from the original skills audit • Why might some students have disliked it? • Why might some students have liked it?
The ‘Silent Killers’ • Module, and ‘knowledge’, focus of students entering level two • Personal tutors don’t always (often?) have experience outside University • Change is scary • Compulsion is scary • There’s a capricious God of assessment
New Improved Marmite? • Removed personal tutors as a compulsory part of the audit process • Integrated academic and employability skills and therefore reduced length • Streamlined other features of the module to reduce assessment burden BUT this has meant losing some pedagogically valuable elements…
The questions still to be answered… • How do we know if our interventions have been successful? • How can we make the subject-specific skills audit work effectively alongside LfL? • How can we ensure JH curriculum coherence?
Key Learns… • Acknowledge the ‘silent killers’ • Student and colleague ‘buy in’ • The students and colleagues who inform development have often already ‘bought in’ – how to engage those who are reluctant? • A coherent programme does not have to rely on an established corpus of knowledge • Articulating skills can be as challenging as articulating knowledge, concepts or theories
Further information • Search for ‘Studying in Context’ on Casebook, includes module and teaching handbooks • Materials available on the Careers website are useful for thinking about transferable skills: http://careerweb.leeds.ac.uk/info/4/make_yourself_employable/200/skills_in_context • ‘Pedagogy for Employability’, an HEA working group report, is available through the library catalogue and raises some useful and interesting questions • The Leeds Employability Strategy is an important background document: http://www.lts.leeds.ac.uk/Employability/EmployabilityStrategy.php?PAGE=136 • Also, Student Education fellowship Reports, particularly Hallett: http://www.sddu.leeds.ac.uk/sddu-200910rhallet.html • Treherne and Rowson’s report on Student Research and Employability in the Arts is also a useful read: www.sddu.leeds.ac.uk/uploaded/StudentsResearchAndEmployabilityInArts.docx - 106k - 2012-10-15