The ChANGE Project (Changemaker Attributes at Northampton for Graduate Employability) continues the work of embedding Changemaker and Employability across our curricula. In addition, it looks at ways in which we can enhance our students digital capabilities through a consideration of how academic staff teach, develop and assess students acquisition and development of key transferable and lifelong learning skills to better equip them for work in a changing and constantly developing 21st century working environment.
Academic staff at the University of Northampton are already in the process of moving to a blended model of learning and teaching which makes full and appropriate use of technology-enhanced learning initiatives and flipped classroom approaches to ensure that both the design and delivery of our programmes are relevant and meaningful for today’s students. The ChANGE project seeks to tie in with this redesign work and forms part of our ongoing rolling review of the University Modular Framework (UMF) which provides the overall structure for the design and delivery of all UN academic awards.
The student experience remains at the heart of this project as we seek to use consistent terminology to look at how our students develop and enhance their employability potential and develop themselves as Changemakers of the future. To this end, a draft framework at Level 6 is being proposed (see below) and will be subsequently developed across all academic levels in conjunction with academic and professional services staff as we explore ways to better engage students with employability.
The proposed framework at level 6
Staff from ILT, UCEE, Learning Design and the School Learning and Teaching Co-ordinators developed the proposed framework (shown below). Using a backwards design approach, we considered what the Northampton Graduate should look like. The following is a proposed revision to our current graduate attribute statement and is under consideration by Faculties and other staff:
The University of Northampton is committed to developing knowledgeable graduates, who are socially responsible, digitally proficient and highly employable global citizens – the Changemakers of the future.
Headline statements at Level 6 have been written for each of the new attributes, using the existing skills in Employability Plus re-written to incorporate our work with staff and students exploring what it means to be a Changemaker, as well as the new Jisc digital capabilities framework.
Version 2.0 of a toolkit for staff has also been developed to help staff to use the framework in practice.
Our proposed headline statements for each of the four groupings as well as for each attribute follow:
Do the right things …
On completion of Level 6, our students are socially responsible problem solvers, who apply knowledge of their chosen field to identify, create, promote and manage opportunities for positive change.
- Opportunity recognition and Creativity: Students apply creative thinking to recognise, create and capitalise on opportunities, taking unprompted action to foster innovative, practical change.
- Problem solving, analysis and investigation: Students work independently and with others to identify, design and critically evaluate evidence-based ethical and creative solutions to problems.
- Persuading, influencing and negotiating: Students articulate ideas and concepts confidently and knowledgeably to a variety of audiences, demonstrating perseverance to reach consensus and obtain commitment to a shared vision.
… in the right way …
On completion of Level 6, our students use evidence, analysis and critical reflection to achieve and encourage others to generate positive, values-driven impact for themselves and their communities.
- Leadership: Students are responsible and accountable decision makers, who apply strategies to inspire others and secure commitment to effect sustainable change.
- Self-management: Students reflect on and evaluate their skills, take responsibility for their learning and proactively plan for personal and professional continuous development.
- Organisation and Action Planning: Students define goals, prioritise and manage complex tasks, evaluate and apply resources and adapt in positive ways to changing circumstances.
… with the right people
On completion of Level 6, our students learn and create effectively and collaboratively through meaningful professional connections with others, in physical and digital contexts.
- Communication: Students communicate complex concepts, demonstrating professionalism, empathy and the ability to adapt to different audiences.
- Group and Team Work: Students establish and maintain effective and collaborative relationships, through valuing others, handling challenges and actively reflecting upon and learning from the experience.
- Networking: Students proactively connect with others, and exchange ideas to establish mutually beneficial working relationships.
Positive Work Ethic, Integrity and Values
… for the right reasons
The actions and behaviours of our Level 6 students are driven by an awareness of personal values motivating them to achieve sustainable social impact.