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Title: The process of change in higher education : the impact of Enterprise in Higher Education (EHE); Higher Education Capability (HEC); and the National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ/GNVQ) on selected disciplinces.. universities.
Author: Wheeler, Richard Graham Gilbert.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3566 6150
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1997
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This thesis derives from a qualitative study of the process of change in higher education in the ten years since the 1987 White Paper Meeting the Challenge, with particular reference to the impact of three initiatives associated with the concept of vocationalism, namely Enterprise in Higher Education (EHE), Higher Education for Capability (HEC) and National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ/GNVQ). The research is based on interview and documentary evidence drawn from four universities - Middlesex; Hertfordshire; the Open University; and Sussex - in five subject/disciplines - two broadly vocational - Business Studies; Electrical Engineering -, and three largely non-vocational - Biology/ Environmental Science; History; and Sociology. The purpose of the study is to illuminate the process of change in the context of policy implementation research. There are four levels of analysis - the individual member of staff; the subject group or department; the university as an institution; and at the system level, the Employment Department (ED) (now OfEE) which has acted as an agency of change in HE. A simple model is developed, analysing the response of individuals in terms of 'enthusiasts', 'capers' and 'doubters'. The responses of subject groups to EHE, HEC and NVQ/GNVQ are examined, with particular reference to curriculum change and different interpretations of vocationalism. At the institutional level, the EHE model of change is revealed as neither exclusively top-down nor bottom-up, but as deriving largely from the influence of change agents in the middle of the organisation, and from the availability of small scale funding as an incentive to innovation in teaching and learning. At the system level, ED strategy, based on selective project funding, is shown to be powerful and effective, principally because it offers opportunities for the assimilation and ownership of change at a" three levels - individual, subject discipline, and institutional. HEC has had less impact on the four universities in an operational sense but the concept of Capability is important in normative terms. This contrasts with evidence of widespread ambivalence in universities towards competency-based education and training, at least at the higher levels, although the Open University's VQ Centre has been influential in facilitating and supporting VQ developments at the OU. As an essay in contemporary history, the thesis is concerned with the analysis of the change process in the context of time and place. As a contribution to grounded theory, it also draws on classic force field analysis and innovation research to illustrate the phenomenon of incremental change, especially when the potential exists for the interpretation and ownership of change by academics themselves.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Education & training