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Title: The 'wicked' problem of employability development in HE degree programmes : experiences, understandings and peceptions of lecturers and students
Author: Cui, Fengqiao (Vanessa)
ISNI:       0000 0004 5350 4579
Awarding Body: Liverpool John Moores University
Current Institution: Liverpool John Moores University
Date of Award: 2014
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For more than a decade, universities around the world have been placed with great responsibility to develop their students’ employability for political, economic and social reasons. Though many policies, research and practices have tried to address the issues and challenges employability development in HE faces, to date it remains a ‘wicked’ problem for higher education. Through a close up research framework, this study explored and examined the experiences, understandings and perceptions of lecturers, and students from two English Post 92 degree programmes, in an educational discipline, regarding employability and employability development. In order to illuminate some of the critical issues, in an attempt to understand ‘why employability development is so problematic to higher education’, this study took a reflexive phenomenological approach to look at how lecturers and students make sense of employability and employability development, through their own experiences. As well as looking at the two groups separately, it also compared their perceptions and understandings to highlight any dissonances they have, which are crucial to the complex and ‘wicked’ problem of employability development in their programmes. As lecturers and students hold diverse perspectives on employability in HE that is often in conflict, it was expected that there would be no “one size fits all” solution. In addition, this study found that employability has certainly added complexities to higher education. Certainly, it has led the students and lecturers to have complex issues within their roles and identities, in relation to employability development in their programmes and in HE in general. As such, this study reflexively examined those issues, and concludes that although employability development in HE will remain complex and ‘wicked’, through reflexive research and practices, vital issues relating to lecturers’ and students’ roles and responsibilities can be illuminated and solved.
Supervisor: Vickerman, Phil; Thompson, Sue; Walsh, Barbara Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Employability development; HE close up research; reflexivity; students' experience; academics' perspective