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Taking Care of Partnerships: A Challenge for Academics and Universities


Attempts to increase the prevalence of work placements as ... Longing for past glories. Trying to invent better mouse traps. Adaptive Responses to Challenges ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Taking Care of Partnerships: A Challenge for Academics and Universities

Taking Care of PartnershipsA Challenge for
Academics and Universities
  • Janice Orrell
  • Education Consultant

Practicum Project 1999-2001
  • Attempts to increase the prevalence of work
    placements as either a requirement or as
    electives in more generalist programmes.
  • This trend is potentially problematic because,
    implemented well, work placements can be a heavy
    drain on scarce resources.
  • Effective programmes require access to quality
    learning environments, preparation and support
    for supervisory staff and establishment of
    appropriate risk management and minimisation
    processes. (Orrell, Cooper Jones, 1999).

Issues Arising
  • Universities are increasingly engaged in
    developing programs to develop graduates
    capacities that meet specific vocational
    professional community needs.
  • Placements often result from extended
    collaboration between the university units
    relevant community professional organisations.
  • Dependence on the goodwill of professional groups
    for delivery of academic programs must be faced
    and challenged.
  • Work involved in establishment and maintenance of
    these links needs to be recognised in workload

Learning in Workplace Contexts differs from all
other learning contexts
  • The different roles and relationships are not
    necessarily clear.
  • The student is not necessarily the central
  • There are competing interests.
  • The learning experiences are often unique,
    unpredictable and immediate and transient in
  • There are often high-risk situations involved.

Comparison of Classroom and Practical Learning
  • Classroom Learning
  • Predictable
  • Replicable
  • Low risk
  • Prolonged
  • Reflective
  • Intentional
  • Student Learning Centred
  • Workplace Learning
  • Unpredictable
  • Unique
  • High risk
  • Transient
  • Action/performance
  • Immediate
  • Competing interests

Knowing Practice
  • Merely placing students in work settings (hoping
    they will learn) does not guarantee that learning
    will take place (Hamilton and Hamilton (1997a, p.
    676 1997b, p. 682).
  • Students are not passive recipients, but
    co-participants (Greene, 1998, p. 411).
  • Going on work experience is mistaken for a
    complete learning activity (Petherbridge 1996, p.

Students Require Preparation
  • Five modules in a Learning to Work (an on-line
  • Investigating the host organisation
  • Personal Preparation for Placement
  • Learning from Experience
  • Cultural awareness and literacy
  • Safety Surviving the placement

6 Domains of WIL
  • Learning, teaching and supervision
  • Student access, needs and support
  • Assessment evaluation
  • Legal and ethical issues
  • Leadership management
  • Partnerships with industry and professions

  • Partnerships with Industry Professional

Traditional Relationships
  • Demarcated, value-added partnerships
  • Dualistic naturalistic
  • Theory vers practice
  • Observers of each other
  • Competing interests
  • Students responsible for transfer of knowledge
    between sites

  • 3 Propositions

  • Successful university work integrated learning
    programmes stem from robust relationships between
    host organisations and institutions.
  • Includes a shared conception between the two that
    the prime purpose is working to learn which will
    enhance a graduate's capability in learning to

Proposition 2
  • Currently, at the discipline level, management
    efforts are largely short term dealing with the
    practicalities and logistics of placing students
  • There are high attrition of organisations willing
    to take students.
  • Institutional leadership is often unengaged
    leaving academics to manage these as individual
    problems that they alone must solve
  • There is a lack of institutional infrastructure
    to lead and manage the quality enhancement of WIL

Proposition 3
  • Improvement requires cultural change by
    Universities, industry professional
  • Achieve of cultural change requires
  • Engagement of leadership from governments,
    institutions professional associations
  • Systematic continuing professional development
    for academics and for host organisation staff is

  • Change Management in Partnership

The Managed Approach
  • This new culture can best be described as a
    balance of a managed approach negotiated and
    advised by an informed and valued community of

Cultural Shift
  • Old Culture
  • Cottage Industry
  • voluntary
  • atomistic
  • learnt on the job
  • Value-added approach
  • students as workers
  • individualistic
  • students as observers
  • New Culture
  • Partnerships
  • intentional
  • comprehensive
  • responsibility induction
  • Stakeholder Approach
  • students as learners
  • shared goals
  • students as participants

(Harvey, Moon Geall, 1997)
If achieved, the cultural change will be
observable in
  • Students who are better prepared for their
  • Placement work place supervisors who support and
    focus on learning rather than tasks,
  • Authentic, respectful and mutually beneficial
    relationships between universities and their
    industry partners
  • Institutional recognition for the work of
    academics who achieve these successful
  • Reduced attrition of placements

Approaching WIL differently will challenge
established orthodoxies
  • The supremacy of either theory or practice
  • The interaction of researchers and practitioners
  • The myth that expertise resides in experience
  • Accreditation processes
  • Curriculum development domains established

Conservative Responses to Challenges
  • Defensive
  • Coercive
  • Longing for past glories
  • Trying to invent better mouse traps

Adaptive Responses to Challenges
  • Innovative
  • Opportunistic
  • Exploratory
  • Creative
  • Collaborative

Effective Placement Programs
  • Involve partnerships among diverse groups
    employers, students, academic teachers, higher
    education managers, professional bodies and
    broker agencies (careers offices, external
    placement groups).
  • There is recognition of all parties involved,
    with clear agreements between them.
  • Mutual benefit is essential. (Harvey, Moon and
    Geall, 1997).
  • The host organisation is involved in the planning
    from the beginning and is committed to student
    learning. (Moody 1997)
  • Policy and processes governing duty of care,
  • Resources infrastructure to support those who
    manage work placement program,
  • An informed community of practice across the
  • Stable relationships with industries
  • Due recognition of the significant contribution
    of industry partners.

Effective WIL Management
  • Leadership engagement
  • Visibility of practice learning in the
    institution the host organisation through
    policy, infrastructure and systems
  • A clear base-line appreciation evaluation of
    current practice (QA)
  • Clear, shared vision of good effective CTLA
  • Deep and sustained interaction with host
  • Induction capacity building for academic staff,
    students host organisations
  • Adequate modifiable resources
  • Well prepared students
  • Scholarly community of practice (QE)

South African Higher Education Qualifications
Framework (HEQF) Requirements
  • Effective management and coordination, with
    responsibilities and lines of accountability
    clearly allocated.
  • Adequate infrastructure provided.
  • Learning contracts or agreements, clarifying the
    objectives and outcomes of the learning process,
    as well as the roles and responsibilities of the
    institution, students, mentors and employers
  • Regular and effective communication between the
    various parties
  • Regular and systematic recording and monitoring
    of progress of the students learning experience.
  • Mentoring to help student to recognise strengths
    and weaknesses develop existing new abilities
    gain knowledge of work practices.
  • Academic as well as workplace based assessment.

  • Partnerships with External Stakeholders

Communication Alignment
Formal Agreement
Informal relationships
External Stakeholders
  • Establish contracts between the institution the
    host organisations
  • Provide stakeholders with opportunities to
    influence the curriculum (meetings with faculty
    and administrators, membership of committees)
  • Supporting the valuable industry and university
    links for research, consultancies and
    professional development
  • Active acknowledgement and rewards for
    contributing to student learning.

Host Organisation Ethos
  • stakeholder ethos.
  • emphasizes learning,
  • adopts a long-term view,
  • Seeks mutual benefit
  • Students experience a range of involvements
  • Teamwork, communication and interpersonal skills
    are intentionally developed
  • Training is holistic, rather than task focused,
  • Students encouraged to develop new ideas through
    the exploration of subject matter and the actual
  • value added ethos
  • focuses upon tangible, short-term returns for the
  • students expected to be adaptive and are assigned
    specific tasks to complete.
  • Students receive instrumental training
  • Employability skills are caught on the job.
  • Students gain insight into the pressures of the
    work environment within various organisations
  • Harvey Moon Geall (1997).

Stakeholder Ethos Epitomises Learning
  • Encourage the culture of learning though
    explicitly valuing lifelong, independent
    education, providing support for learners.
  • Carefully monitor learning outcomes and
    conditions for OHS and EO.
  • Permits organisations to act on opportunities and
    challenges and supports the articulated strategy
    of higher education institutions and the
    achievement their shared goals (Harvey Knight,
  • Leads to authentic, ongoing, transformative
    partnerships integrating work, curriculum and
    research (Harvey et al., 1997).

  • Partnerships with
  • Workplace Supervisors

Reasons for supervising
  • Desire to teach Influence anothers
    professional development
  • Professional duty/ Agency wanted me to supervise
  • Needing extra help in the agency
  • New challenge sense of achievement
  • Keep up with the latest knowledge
  • University connection
  • Field instruction is an additional learning
  • Furthering of the profession
  • Relieving the boredom of the job
  • Variety of tasks in the job
  • Seeing students reach their goals
  • Making a contribution to student development

Rewards valued by supervisors
  • Free workshops and pay honorarium/mileage/free
    university parking to training events
  • Invite them to University orientation
  • Award adjunct academic status
  • Provide opportunities for networking with other
  • Certification program
  • Recruit first amongst supervisors when hiring for
    part time employment to teach electives

  • Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance Issues
  • Employer satisfaction re-preparation of graduates
    for work and work based learning
  • Explicitness of purposes so that the adequacy of
    enabling procedures can be evaluated against the
  • Acceptability of the purposes, procedures and
    expected outcomes to students and professional
    accreditation standards
  • Equity and inclusiveness of access and outcome

Collaborations with Professions
  • Goal getting the BALANCE right!
  • Theory Practice
  • Rewards Responsibility
  • Learning Working
  • Leading Managing
  • Leading Collaborating

Natural Partnerships
  • Progress is difficult to achieve when the balance
    isnt right!

New Partnerships
  • Stakeholder approach
  • (Harvey, Moon Geall)
  • Authentic transformative
  • Theory practice,
  • parts of a whole
  • Fluid synergy,
  • each re-shapes the other
  • Commitment to mutual benefit

  • Boud, D., Cohen, R. Walker, D. (eds.) 1993.
    Using experience for learning. Buckingham
    Society for Research into Higher education Open
    University Press.
  • Burnard, P. 1996. Acquiring interpersonal skills
    - a handbook of experiential learning for health
    professionals. 2nd edition. London Chapman
  • Cooper, L., Lawson, M. Orrell, J. (1997)
    Raising Issues about Teaching Views of Academic
    Staff at Flinders University, Flinders Institute
    for the Study of Teaching, Adelaide.
  • Cooper, L. Orrell, J, (1999) 'The Practicum
    The Domestic Work of University Teaching', HERDSA
    News, Vol 21, No 2, August, pp 6-9.
  • Greene, D. (1998). Reciprocity in two conditions
    of service-learning. Educational Gerontology,
    24(5), 411-425.
  • Hamilton, S.F. Hamilton, M.A. (1997b). When is
    work a learning experience? Phi Delta Kappan,
    78(9), 682-690.
  • Harvey, L. and Knight, P. T., 1996, Transforming
    Higher Education, Buckingham, Society for
    Research into Higher Education, Open University
    Press (October).
  • Harvey, L., Moon, S., Geall, V. with Bower, R.,
    (1997), Graduates' Work organisational change
    and students' attributes. Birmingham, CRQ and AGR
    (supported by DFEE and CIHE).
  • Martin, E. (1998) Conceptions of Workplace
    University Education, Higher Education Research
    and Development. 17207-227.
  • Moody, K. (1997) Workers in a Lean World London,
  • Orrell, J, Cooper L, Jones, R. (1999) The
    Practicum Report, Number 1 An Audit of the
    Practicum at Flinders University. Unpublished
    report, Flinders University, Adelaide
  • Petherbridge, J. (1996). Debriefing work
    experience a reflection on reflection? British
    Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 24(2),
  • Schaafsma, H. (1996). Reflections of a visiting
    co-op practitioner a view of co-op from down
    under. Journal of Cooperative Education, XXXI(2),
  • South Africa. (2007). Department of Education
    Government Notice No 928, gazetted (No. 30353) 5
    October 2007 as policy in terms of the Higher
    Education Act
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