SYMPOSIUM: The reach, the scope and the possibility for student-engagement

This symposium aims to elaborate on three aspects of student-engagement/student-as-partners agendas. Within a globalised, neo-liberal economy education itself has become subject to market-forces, leaving students as being perceived and perceiving themselves as ‘customers’. By developing three perspectives we aim to inform our audience about difficulties, limitations and the possibilities of student-engagement agendas with ‘customer-students’. We hope to incite a debate that will provide valuable feedback for the audience as much as for the presenters.

1. Presentation: Student engagement and students-as-partners agendas in the cold light of the neo-liberal market, Dr Tom Feldges, Lecturer at University Centre North Lindsey
The first presentation sets the theme and focuses upon systemic-structural limits to student-engagement and students-as-partner agendas as a result of the neo-liberal marketization of UK HE. With recourse to a small-scale study it is argued that top-down approaches will not be able to secure sufficient student-engagement.

2. Presentation: Lecturers in ‘bad faith’ cannot be valuable partners for students Sonia Pieczenko, Lecturer at University Centre Grimsby.

The second presentation develops the issues around increasing managerial control regimes and their impact on the tutor. By drawing on J.P. Sartre’s work the conceptual argument is brought forward arguing that these managerial styles are in danger of leaving the individual tutor in ‘bad faith’, i.e., an inauthentic person. The author claims that the student’s experience is key and that exposure to inauthentic tutors may pose a limit to their willingness to engage in a partnership with academics of this kind.

3. Presentation: The SEE Project for student-engagement. Steven Johnstone, Director of HE Programmes, University Centre North Lindsey College

The third presentation introduces a conceptual model to enhance students’ scholarship, engagement and employability (SEE). This model supports a recursive approach that facilitates the accomplishment of the mundane to enable a subsequent engagement with increasingly complex tasks, while encouraging a continuous, individual reflection upon the student’s own values. The model aims to broaden and to extend the students’ line of sight by developing a wider perspective from the observer-position of the student, and thus keeping the individual student at the very centre of these so initiated transitions.

The presenters are keen to enter into a discussion with the audience to gain feedback, ideas and suggestions regarding this topic from the audience.