Universities: Concentrate on overall experience, not jobs

Too much emphasis on graduate employability in Key Information Sets could play into the hands of private for-profit providers at the expense of universities, a vice-chancellor has warned.

From autumn 2012, all institutions will be required to publish data on contact hours, course fees, living costs and average income of graduates, to help students choose where to study.

But Janet Beer, vice-chancellor of Oxford Brookes University and chair of the Higher Education Public Information Steering Group, told a Westminster Education Forum event on 13 October that she feared students may focus too heavily on employment success statistics and pay little mind to information about the overall university experience.

“I am worried about an over-emphasis by students on employability,” she said at the London conference, titled The Student as a Consumer? The Next Steps for Student Experience and Quality Assurance in Universities.

“What they want (for) £9,000 (tuition fees) is employability, but we offer a much richer experience. We have a hinterland that for-profit institutions cannot offer.

“If we are really clear about the range of opportunities we offer students and make it obvious, then we will only get stronger.

“We must not get sucked into thinking that we are providing some kind of production-line product.”

Read full story and three cheers for anti-careerism!