Is a question posed by Clayton Christensen and colleagues in a 2011 report, Disrupting College: How Disruptive Innovation Can Deliver Quality and Affordability to Postsecondary Education. Disruption has since had much attention in the media and literature; the hiring function somewhat less.
So why do students hire their chosen universities? In a recent Gallup-Purdue study of 30,000 U.S. graduates it was found that which university you attend (large, small, elite or not) makes little difference to your workplace engagement and overall well-being. What matters is the experience you have – or not.
Surprised? I wasn’t. We’ve known this for a long time.
We’ve known, according to Ron Barnett in 2007 that, “… that the student’s being and becoming is more significant than the student’s knowing efforts. In higher education, otology does indeed trump epistemology. It follows that – even in higher education – it is the student’s being that should occupy her teacher’s primary attentions”
We’ve known, according to Chickering and Gamson in 1987, that there are seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education make a difference.
We’ve known since the 70s from work in Europe, Australia and North America, how the quality of student learning is influenced by the quality of teaching and the experience, conceptions, values and norms promoted by the institution and its staff.
What we haven’t known so well is how national policy will impact on students when it comes to hiring their university of choice. In my previous post I referred to two UK reports published in 2010 and 2012 that have some insights and more that help to answer Gallup’s question, as well as something else we perhaps don’t know so well:
“When colleges and universities are setting internal strategies, designing new programs and curricula, deciding what performance measures faculty should be compensated for, and working to attract future students, what are they to do?”
Barnett, R (2007) A Will to Learn: Being a student in an age of uncertainty Maidenhead: Open University press p.165
See also, Dall’Alba, G. and Barnacle, R. (2007) ‘An Ontological Turn for Higher Education’, Studies in Higher Education, 32/6, pp.679–91.