• Business School Perceptions of the Possible Impact of the Teaching Excellence Framework: A Complex Adaptive Systems Perspective.

      Wall, Tony; Maheshwari, Vish; Jodlowski, Tadzio R. (University of Chester, 2019-07-23)
      The implementation of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) at institutional level 2017, presents universities with the challenge of responding to a government policy which has the capacity to change the Higher Education landscape. Educational policies are capable of introducing complexity into organisations and inspiring disruptive behaviour. The strategic response to policy implementation within universities is often thought to be the domain of business schools due to their assumed autonomy and links to management. The responses of business schools towards policy implementation have not been previously explored. Therefore, the research explores the response of business schools towards the Institutional level TEF as well as wider policy changes, within the context of an assumed sense of autonomy. An interpretivist research methodology was chosen in order to explore business school responses towards the voluntary participation of the TEF in 2017 through interviews with respondents from universities across the country. This includes analysis of sense making from respondents as they drawing upon their respective knowledge networks. Qualitative research was utilised in order to explore the response from business schools and increase the understanding of policy response within the Higher Education sector. The research utilised purposive sampling followed by the use of snowball sampling. Complex Adaptive Systems theory was used a theoretical lens, and the data was explored though the use of thematic analysis which examined cluster formations in NVivo and identified patterns of data emerging into four main CAS areas. The findings suggest that business school responses towards the Institutional Level TEF in 2017 represents a moment in time when participating universities found themselves responding to an educational policy which contained an evolutionary element, capable of introducing change into the existing order - thus providing an example of punctuated equilibrium. The response to the TEF was hierarchical, and involved individuals reporting to their respective Vice Chancellors, while receiving support from self-regulating groups. The TEF is identified as a Complex Adaptive System due to its none-linear and unpredictable behaviour. Finally, Zimmerman’s Zone of Complexity is utilised in order to illustrate the manner in which the Edge of Chaos is capable of representing an opportunity for innovative though, when the decision is made to alternate between managerial clockware and innovative swarmware
    • Employee Engagement, Motivation, Resilience, and Leadership: An exploration of relationships within a Higher Education Institution

      Thomas, Mike; Rowland, Caroline; Mulliner, Julie (University of Chester, 2018-02-09)
      This study seeks to explore, in one particular UK Higher Educational Institution (HEI), the relationships between engagement, motivation, resilience and the quality of the relationship between managers and those being managed. A literature review provides salient themes relating to the four concepts of: employee engagement, motivation, emotional resilience, and leadership. The changing landscape of the University sector in the UK is also considered for contextual purposes. A mixed methods approach was used to explore relationships between these four concepts. Methods included: observation, focus groups, questionnaires and interviews. Findings from this study indicate that motivation, resilience, engagement and leadership all interrelate; but that leadership interrelated with the other concepts to a lesser extent. Prerequisites of engagement were found to be motivation and resilience, both of which were inter-reliant and as such were difficult to separate. Prerequisites of motivation and resilience were found to be individuals’ personality characteristics, mind-set and thinking style. Higher quality relationships with managers were consistently associated with higher effort, whereas lower quality relationships ranged from making no difference to the exertion of effort, to being a minor irritation in the background, to adversely affecting effort and resilience. Specific leadership attributes and behaviours were found to be more influential in terms of creating affinity between the line manager and follower which were more likely to positively influence engagement, motivation and resilience. Conclusions indicate that the majority of effort is influenced by an individual’s personality characteristics, mind-set and thinking style. The minority of effort therefore was influenced by external factors such as job enjoyment, as a loci of engagement, and autonomy, as a determinant of engagement. The role of a leader is therefore critical in terms of creating and maintaining an engaging work environment. Certain leadership attributes such as gaining trust, being genuinely caring and compassionate and having a positive outlook were positively associated with the followers having a stronger emotional attachment to the organisation manifesting in increased engagement, motivation and resilience. Practical recommendations for senior leaders in organisations, people managers and HR practitioners include: creating operational clarity and clarity of vision; creating and maintaining a culture of care and support; developing leadership attributes and competencies which are key to achieving an engaged workforce; and implementing practices to facilitate job satisfaction, personal and professional growth and a climate of team collegiality which were found to be the three most important work related factors which positively influenced engagement. This research contributes by bringing a new dimension to employee engagement, motivation, resilience and leadership, adding to the existing literature relating to these four concepts. Three different perspectives are presented and one conceptual approach, relating to these four concepts. Each perspective and approach contains elements which can be applied by HR professionals and organisational leaders to create a culture of employee engagement. This study provides a questionnaire that may be used by other organisations to determine engagement strategies and policies.
    • Enabling and disabling discourses in promoting RPLO policy and practice in Higher Education

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (2010)
      This paper captures and presents some of the powerful and sometimes contradictory discourses, which limit the diffusion and uptake of the recognition of prior learning outcomes (RPLO) in higher education: quality, funding, capacity, and student experience. Each of these is analysed and ‘opened up’ (Derrida, 1978; Bhabha, 1994). In doing so, it aims to ‘open up’ some of those discourses for practitioners and/or leaders to initiate or develop policy and practice in institutions further afield (Kemmis, 2008). The data that forms the basis of this paper was generated through various action research projects in a UK University and multiple development events in the UK.
    • Expanding the Undergraduate Entrepreneurial Perspective: An exploratory investigation into pedagogy and practice at the University of Chester

      Hancock, Connie (University of Chester, 2018-08-18)
      Purpose: This work conducts an exploratory investigation into the domain of entrepreneurship in Higher Education (HE), how it is perceived, interpreted and embedded, both from a pedagogic and philosophical perspective, into a contemporary university landscape in order to cultivate entrepreneurial behaviours in undergraduate students. It is implied in government imperatives and directives that entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs are the fiscal panacea that will lead us towards the light in the economic gloom that currently pervades. The cultivation of entrepreneurial attitudes and behaviours has been specifically linked to Higher Education by the European Commission, although scholarly research into developing an entrepreneurial landscape within the HE sector is significantly lacking. Whilst studies exploring the entrepreneurial university and transformative opportunities in response to economic pressure has been undertaken from the 90s onwards, this field and its potential to inform and impact on Higher Education continues to represent an understudied area. The purpose of this research therefore, is to consider the methodologies and strategies that can support a cultivation, integration and embedment of entrepreneurship education in a Higher Education context, specifically the University of Chester, with a view to creating a blueprint for future Entrepreneurship undergraduate Programmes. Methodology: The approach is one that embraces an inductive and qualitative research methodology with data secured from three groups of respondents: undergraduate students, staff engaged in the delivery and support of entrepreneurial endeavour and external stakeholders contributing to an entrepreneurship agenda. Data were gathered from student participants by means of semi-structured interviews and focus groups. Data was secured from staff and external stakeholders via the mode of face-to-face semi-structured interviews. A multiple perspective methodology was employed in order to effectively provide a triangulation of perceptions on the development of an institutional entrepreneurial culture from a pragmatic perspective. The data were analysed and interpreted by way of template analysis (Stokes, Wall, 2014; Philips, Lawrence and Hardy, 2004; Hardy and Thomas, 2013). Contribution: This work expands upon the ways in which entrepreneurship education may be understood in the context of a comparatively small university in the north-west of England and extends the thinking into how practice may be extended to maximise undergraduate entrepreneurship. Most significantly, this research offers up a conceptual blueprint in the form of a model that demonstrates how entrepreneurially orientated mind-sets and behaviours may be fostered in undergraduates within the context of University of Chester.
    • Experiences of international students studying in a UK university: how do international students studying in the UK’s Higher Education sector build academic resilience?

      Moore, Neil; Ullah, Farid; Brogden-Ward, Anthony J. (University of Chester, 2021-05)
      With the ever-increasing number of international students entering the global market, many of which enrol on post-graduate Higher Education (HE) programmes in the UK, current research offers limited insight into the key role academic resilience plays in enabling international cohorts’ progression and achievement. This study aims to fill the gap by investigating how international students studying in the UK build academic resilience, contributing to the literature and informing governmental policies and university practices. Guided by Bourdieu’s seminal concepts of social capital generation and conversion, this work develops the theories of other researchers in building capital to enhance the academic resilience of students. It achieves this by adopting a qualitative interpretivist paradigm aligned to similar studies, using a longitudinal representative case study in the UK. Over a period of 42-months, 36 respondents formed four non-probability samples. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews, a focus group and questionnaire, the findings of which were analysed using grounded theory methods and supported by computer-aided qualitative analysis software. The results identify six prevalent capitals that students either generate prior to their arrival in the UK or are socially constructed with newly formed peer-groups. Notably, the emergence of neo-familial capital akin to concepts of fictive kinship offers a fresh perspective on the need to formally address the importance academic resilience has on the international student’s learning experience and progression. The findings provide insight into the sources of international students’ academic resilience and how these can change over space and time. This insight offers universities with theoretical and practical guidance on the need to embed proactive student support systems that stimulate academic resilience amongst its international students. It also informs governmental policies on attracting students from overseas as it seeks to enhance the UK’s HE offer to global markets.
    • ‘Islands in the stream’ – causeways or compromise?

      Talbot, Jon; Leonard, Dilys T.; University of Chester (2010-04)
      In recent years, policy drivers have given a strategic push towards encouraging ‘employer-led’ work based learning in Higher Education. For example, Leitch ( 2006?) and other key policy makers advocate institutional change and reform in HE to respond to market needs; HEFCE encourages HEI’s “Towards a strategy for work based learning”; the QAA has reflected most recently on ‘employer-responsive provision’. This paper sets out to explore the impact of these strategic objectives and some issues which emerge from the rapprochement of stakeholders and providers. It is based on experience in an institution where challenges and tensions are being met and overcome. The case example is part of a Higher Level Skills Pathway (HLSP) Project whose lead partner is the North West Universities Association (NWUA) in North West England. Learning Pathway provision for Housing Practitioners (via a Professional Certificate in Leadership) has been developed in conjunction with employers using the WBIS (Work based and Integrative Studies) framework at the University of Chester. This flexible modular framework puts knowledge and experiential learning gained in the work context at the core of learning activity. This paper uses the example to characterise the power relationships and tensions. Reflecting on the case study, it seems that by attending to such policy drivers, much compromise is required from both parties in terms of curriculum design and the relationships being built between Higher Education Institutions (HEI’s) and employers. The term ‘employer-led’ denotes an uneven power relationship and this may in the long run serve to undermine the hallmark of HE provision – quality and standards. In conclusion we suggest that the whole relationship needs to be predicated on co-produced provision in order to build sustainable relationships between employers and HEI’s. The term ‘co-production’ equalises the power relationship, encouraging the goal of dynamic interaction, mutual respect and benefits based on the expertise and knowledge of each party.
    • The place and status of knowledge in Work Based Learning

      Major, David; Chester College of Higher Education (2002-11)
      This paper seeks to examine some of the epistemological issues which relate to the debate concerning the justification of Work Based Learning in the HE curriculum. It will take account of post-modern perspectives on the theory of knowledge and of the so-called knowledge revolution and the impact these have had on the University. The perceived divide between academic and vocational knowledge, universal and local knowledge, and Mode 1 and Mode 2 knowledge will be discussed, and it will be argued that such ways of thinking are inappropriate and a hindrance in any attempt to arrive at a satisfactory way of understanding the place and status of knowledge in Work Based Learning. It will be argued that Work Based Learning is involved as much in knowledge creation as it is with the application of knowledge and, therefore, that more holistic ways of perceiving knowledge are required. The paper will continue to argue that a more helpful way of thinking of knowledge (especially when arguing the case for WBL in HE) is in terms of its level rather than its type, and it will conclude by commenting on Barnett’s concept of the practising epistemologist, and suggesting that this befits the profile of both the WBL facilitator and learner, before pointing to Raelin’s contention that Work Based Learning needs a new epistemology of practice.
    • Towards a philosophical underpinning for Work Based Learning: The ontological perspective

      Major, David; University of Chester (2005-12)
      This paper recognises that Work Based Learning is a relatively new phenomenon in the University curriculum and takes the view that it is incumbent upon its proponents to articulate a clear philosophical and educational rationale for its existence in Higher Education. It seeks to make a case for Work Based Learning as an example of ontological-relational thought, a philosophical concept essentially concerning self-knowledge. A central argument is that Work Based Learning leads to more holistic ways of knowing and being than does the conventional University curriculum. It examines critical reflection as a distinctive feature of Work Based Learning and considers the potential of the latter as a means of facilitating meaning-making. The article concludes with comment on Vaill’s concept of learning as a way of being.
    • Trends in Scientific Publishing on Sustainability in Higher Education

      Filho, Walter L.; Wall, Tony; Salvia, Amanda L.; Frankenberger, Fernanda; Hindley, Ann; Mifsud, Mark; Brandli, Luciana; Will, Markus; Hamburg University of Applied Sciences; Manchester Metropolitan University; University of Passo Fundo; Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná-PUCPR; Positivo University-UP; University of Chester; University of Malta; University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Görlitz
      It is widely acknowledged that research and publications in peer reviewed journals offer important metrics in describing the academic outputs of higher education institutions on one hand, and their societal impacts on the other. Peer review is a well-tested method for quality control and has been successfully deployed over many decades in academic journals worldwide. But despite the fact that publications on matters related to sustainable development offer solid evidence of academic activity and excellence, there is a dearth of literature in this field. In order to address this need, the European School of Sustainability Science and Research (ESSSR) and the Inter-University Sustainable Development Research Programme (IUSDRP) have undertaken the World Survey on Sustainability Publishing and Research in Higher Education (WSSSP-HEI). The paper has two main aims. The first is to document and showcase trends in scientific publishing on matters related to sustainable development. The second aim is to contribute to a greater understanding of this rapidly growing field, by describing the latest developments and the role played by some of the journals active in this area. Consistent with these aims, this paper focuses on publications on sustainability in higher education, describes the methods used in the study and some of its results. It can be seen that despite the intrinsic value of research on sustainable development in higher education as a whole, and of publications in this field in particular, such practices are not as widely developed as one could expect. This paper discusses the possible reasons and also outlines some measures via which higher education institutions may be able to take more advantage of the many opportunities that publishing on sustainability offers to them.
    • Tussles with ambidexterity: The case of managers of health professional education

      Wall, Tony; Moore, Neil; Collins, Evelyn (University of Chester, 2019-07-23)
      This case study explores the lived experience of managers within an academic faculty concerned with the professional education of the health care workforce in the UK. Recent advances in the global trend towards the marketisation of Higher Education and the current era of public and quasi-public-sector austerity, sees these actors tasked with practising their craft amidst a powerful set of forces which are transforming their world of work and raising opportunities and challenges in equal measure. At the heart of these challenges lies the imperative to maintain and enhance current capabilities whilst simultaneously adopting a future orientation to develop new ones. The extant literature offers powerful evidence of the efficacy of the construct of ambidexterity as a lens through which to understand the way in which organisations and individuals pursue these dual aims and provides a fitting theoretical framework for the study. The case study integrates data elicited from interviews with managers with archival documentary data, relating to a four-year period, to facilitate analysis on both an individual and business-unit level. The findings offer a novel exploration of the construct of ambidexterity in the Higher Education arena and address the plethora of calls to advance our understanding regarding managers’ interpretation and responses to the tensions which arise from the pursuit of ambidexterity. The research makes a unique contribution to the existing body of knowledge revealing a conceptualisation of contextual ambidexterity in which the dual modes of operation (exploitation and exploration) are positioned along a continuum. Context-specific ambidextrous tensions emerge, including the dichotomous perception of other educational providers as both competitors and collaborators and the enduring deleterious impact of explorative activity on exploitative endeavours. Ambidextrous tactics are also in evidence with the imperative to develop social capital with external stakeholders, who are espoused with consumer sovereignty, taking precedence in this complex educational marketplace. Together the findings afford a unique insight into the way that managers of professional healthcare education perceive and manage the complexity and dynamism of ambidexterity in their everyday practice.