Understanding policies and practices in higher education

Core Module

This module, one of the three core modules taken in Part 1, enables you to engage critically with developments in higher education that impact on academic practices in universities around the world. You will deploy appropriate concepts and theories to critically appraise policy-making and policy implementation processes, including those located in your own local circumstances. You will be able to engage in effective change management which is orientated to the enhancement of teaching, research or other University functions, again this may be located in the local circumstances. You will conduct rigourous research in the area of policies and change and be able to write academic articles of significance to a wide readership in this area.

The module is organised into the following themes:

  1. exploring professional practices in relation to the module aims;
  2. global trends in higher education;
  3. policy and policy-making - theory and practices;
  4. policy implementation and enactment - theory and practices;
  5. exploring the implementation gap - why outcomes don’t match intentions, usually
  6. learning architectures in universities – structures and processes that scaffold or inhibit enhancement structures and agency in universities - cultures, disciplines, ideologies, identities;
  7. effective change agency - some principles, some practices

As with each of the three core modules on the programme, the assessment of this one is a journal-length assignment on a topic relevant to the module chosen by you. The assessment criteria are those of a PhD generally: the assignment offers an original contribution to knowledge and is of publishable standard. The model on which this assessment strategy is based is that of submitting a journal article: you initially submit a preliminary version which receives extensive formative feedback from the module tutor. Here the tutor is acting in the same way as peer reviewers of a submitted journal article. You are then able to improve your assignment based on that advice and submit it for summative assessment. If the assignment does not reach PhD standard at this stage you have the opportunity for one further resubmission, again based on substantial advice from the module tutor.

Having successfully completed this module you will be a specialist in an area of the topic, able to publish in that area, and able to enhance professional understanding, practices and approaches relevant to the module’s topic.

The module leader for UPPHE is Dr Kirsty Finn who has many years’ experience in this field.

Participant comment: “Excellent, thank you.  Thank you for the support and encouragement.  Very happy as always.  More than happy with everything during the residential.”