Assignment 4 – Online discussion

This post summarise some of the discussions/feedback from the online forum for Assignment 4. My written post can be viewed in my previous post, Assignment 4 – Part 1.

So far I haven’t discussed the cessation of Crafts too much within my assignments. However it only seemed appropriate within Assignment 4 as employability stats were cited as a reason for closure. Matt teaches on Digital Media, another course that is closing. Matt highlighted the lack of a platform for colleagues within the university to discuss issues surrounding courses in cessation or at risk of closure. I think he makes a valid argument. As far as I am aware the university is lacking an institution wide working group to address issues within failing courses – in particular something that engages the course teams not just senior management! Such a scheme would encourage collegial discussion, collaboration and the sharing of best practice and could potentially improve the performance of underperforming courses.

Through various face to face discussions with colleagues, it has become very apparent that the increasing reliance on quantitive stats and data to measure course success and viability is highly unpopular. Stats including NSS scores, employability data, financial performance, recruitment and retentions targets have been collated into a traffic light system, which identifies how well the course is performing. I feel there is complete lack of qualitative data within this scheme. I fear this will only get worse with the introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework, which relies on these types of data.

James discussed the support AMATA graduates have received through the Graduate Pre-Incubation Programme, and indeed the support this scheme has provided for Craft students historically. However he pointed out that funding for the scheme came to and end in 2015, and stresses the need for post graduate support across the institution albeit at different levels. He was surprised that a graduate workshop access programme isn’t already in place.

The Destination of Leavers from HE (DLHE) questionnaire surveys alumni six months after graduating. Claire suggested that six months was not a sufficient period of time post graduation to get a clear picture of a students employment status – particularly those setting up a craft business. I completely agree with Claire – from my experience, as a graduate of Crafts at Falmouth, alumni from my cohort took many years to settle into graduate level employability and set up there own craft businesses. As Claire suggests the DLHE is not a suitable measuring stick for all disciplines, particularly creative subjects, within which portfolio careers are common. I would suggest that there needs to be a longitudinal employability study that measures students’ career paths over a number of years.

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