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Centre for the Study of Education and Training, Department of Educational Research, County South, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YD, UK
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Home > Research Projects > Project Archive - Higher and Further Education

Project Archive - Higher and Further Education

Members of CSET have developed a series of courses for Lancaster University undergraduates on Education and Work, Educational Policy Making and Universities and Society; MA/MSc modules on Evaluation and Practitioner Research and Education and Work; and the University's Doctoral Programme in Educational Research - which has specialised in Higher and Further Education during its first two cycles. They regularly supervise dissertations in these fields at both master's and doctoral level.


1. Coping with Uncertainty

Oliver Fulton in collaboration with Martin Trow (University of California, Berkeley), Tony Becher (University of Sussex) and Ruth Neumann (MacQuarie University).

This on-going study is using case studies to examine the ways in which senior management in HE institutions interpret and respond to fast-changing national policy. The main areas of interest include medium-range planning (student numbers, course structures, research) and responses to external audit/assessment (quality audit, teaching quality, teaching assessment, research assessment).

Funded by the Hewlett Foundation, USA. 1994 - 95

Publications and reports

Differentiation and Diversity in a Newly Unitary System: the case of the United Kingdom.

Oliver Fulton, 1996

in V Lynn Meek, Leo Goedegebuure, Osmo Kivinen & Risto Rinne R (ed.) The Mockers and Mocked: Comparative Perspectives on Differentiation, Convergence and Diversity in Higher Education Pergamon 1996


2. International Survey of the Academic Profession

Oliver Fulton in collaboration with Juergen Enders and Ulrich Teichler (Kassel

University), and Peter Maassen and Peter Geurfs (Twente University)

This is a large-scale questionnaire survey of staff in new and old universities and colleges of higher education, which is comparing the background, working conditions, work practices and opinions on work-related issues of academic staff in England with a number of other countries, including Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands; the USA and Australia. Further publications are planned for 1998.

Funded by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, USA.

Publications and reports

Mass Access and the End of Diversity? The Academic Profession in England on the Eve of Structural Reform

Oliver Fulton, 1997

in Philip Altbach (ed.) The International Academic Profession: Portraits from Fourteen Countries Princeton, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Unity or fragmentation, convergence or diversity? The academic profession in comparative perspective in the era of mass higher education

Oliver Fulton, 1998 (forthcoming)

in William G Bowen and Harold Shapiro (ed.) Universities and their Leadership Princeton, Princeton University Press.


3. Evaluation of links between Higher Education and Work-Based Learning

Oliver Fulton, Gilly McHugh and Murray Saunders

The former Employment Department through its Higher and Further Education Branch, regularly funded a number of projects designed to build closer and more productive links between higher education institutions and work. The CSET team provided the external evaluation for a network of seven projects. The investigation concentrated on a variety of issues including the design and validation of work-based learning programme strategies for introducing new systems of accreditation and assessment, cost effectiveness, transferability of outcomes and the effects of the national and local employment and higher education contexts.

Funded by the Employment Department, 1994-1996

Publications and reports

Work Based Learning in Higher Education: Can Higher Education Deliver?

Final Report to the Employment Department. Oliver Fulton, Gilly McHugh and Murray Saunders. Centre for the Study of Education and Training, 1996.

Saunders, M., 1999, The Integrative Principle: Higher Education and Workbased Learning in the UK, European Journal of Education, Vol 30 No 2, pp 203-216 1995.


4. Higher Education in the National Economy (HEINE)

Oliver Fulton, Joan Machell, Gilly McHugh, Murray Saunders.

This project has been funded under the EU’s Targeted Socio-Economic Research Programme for a start date in October 1997. The eight-country project, co-ordinated by CSET in conjunction with research centres in Oslo (Norway) and Twente (Netherlands), will examine and compare the effectiveness of national policies designed to align higher education systems and institutions more closely with the perceived needs of national economies. It will use documentary review of developments over the past twenty years, combined with interviews with leading policy makers past and present, case studies of a number of universities and colleges and workshoops for institutional managers.

Funded by the Commission of the European Union, 1997-99.


5. Exploitation of social science research

Oliver Fulton, Joan Machell, Gilly McHugh with Elizabeth Shove (CSEC), Frank Blackler (Behaviour in Organisations), Alan Warde (Sociology) at Lancaster and researchers at Manchester University

This project was commissioned by the Economic and Social Research Council to investigate the ways in which social science researchers at Lancaster and Manchester Universities have responded to the growing expectation that social science research should develop connections with actual or potential external "users" of research, leading to better exploitation of new knowledge. The project is using questionnaires, workshops and case studies to explore researchers’ perceptions of the user community and their experience of liaison with users.

Funded by the ESRC, 1997-98.


6. Evaluation of Lancaster University's Enterprise in Higher Education scheme

Joan Machell and Oliver Fulton

CSET carried out a formative evaluation of Lancaster University's Enterprise in Higher Education Scheme. Annual reports examined a number of issues including: students' experiences of EHE and the problems of student recruitment; staff involvement and the diffusion of EHE; staff and student experiences of structured EHE courses; problems of teaching and assessment. The final report (1993) reviewed how the University's approaches to teaching and learning have been affected by EHE's activities.

Commissioned by Lancaster University with funding from the Employment Department, 1989-93


7. Admissions to Higher Education: Policy and Practice

Oliver Fulton and Susan Ellwood.

This study was based mainly on interviews with staff in Higher Education. It examined HE institutions' responses to external pressure (national policy objectives, student demand, new qualifications, etc.) in order to determine the incentives for, and barriers to, changes in policy and practice at the institutional, departmental and course levels.

Publications and reports:

i) Admissions to Higher Education: Policy and Practice (1989)

O. Fulton & S. Ellwood. Training Agency

ii) Admissions, Access and Institutional Change (1990)

O. Fulton & S. Ellwood, in O. Fulton (ed) Access and Institutional Change, Open University Press

Funded and published by the Department of Employment Training Agency, 1989.


8. Using Records of Achievement in Admissions at Lancaster

Joan Machell

The aim of this study was to inform, support and encourage admissions tutors at Lancaster who might wish to use Records of Achievement (RoAs) as part of the selection process. 1991 was the first year that applicants to Higher Education were invited to offer RoAs in support of their applications and the study monitored the extent to which admissions tutors were aware of, and actually made use of, RoAs. Interviews and a questionnaire survey were carried out with about 40 admissions tutors at Lancaster.

Commissioned by Enterprise in Higher Education (EHE) at Lancaster University, 1991.


9. Evaluation of European Community Funded Projects in Knowsley Community College

Fiona Frank

This was an evaluation of four courses (New Opportunities for Women, 2 'Horizon' courses and one Euroform Course) where students and tutors are linked with colleges in Denmark and Ireland to exchange views, to work together on specific projects and to share professional practice.

Publications and reports:

Knowsley College in Europe: Evaluation of Four European Funded Projects Running at Knowsley Community College in 1993.

Fiona Frank, CSET, 1994

Funded by Knowsley Community College, 1994.


10. Research on reasons for course completion and dropout in full-time courses at Knowsley Community College

Fiona Frank, Gilly McHugh and Sue Bergin

This research project examined the reasons why students drop out of some full-time courses at Knowsley College. Researchers carried out interviews with tutors and students on courses with and without high drop-out rates.

Publications and reports:

Quitting: A Survey of Early Leavers Carried Out at Knowsley Community College, Gilly McHugh & Sue Bergin, CSET, 1994.

When life gets in the way (Fiona Frank and Gaye Houghton, Adults Learning June 1997.

Jointly funded by Knowsley Community College and the Employment Department, 1994.


11. Research on Non-arrival and dropout at The Adult College, Lancaster, 1995

Fiona Frank

This research project examined reasons for students' non-arrival and dropout from courses at an adult college with an excellent reputation. A sample of courses was examined and non-arrivals and dropouts for Autumn Term courses were analysed by vocational and non-vocational courses, programme areas, age, gender, locality and employment statistics of students.

Publications and reports:

‘I haven't really left’: a study of non-arrival and dropout on Autumn Term courses at The Adult College Lancaster. Fiona Frank, 1996

When life gets in the way (Fiona Frank and Gaye Houghton, Adults Learning June 1997.

Funded by The Adult College, Lancaster


12. Evaluation of European Community Funded Projects in Knowsley Community College . Joan Machell, 1997 - 1999

The foci of this evaluation were 3 projects NOW, Horizon and Youthgo which were co-ordinated by Knowsley Community College.


13. Research Exploitation in the Social Sciences

Oliver Fulton, Joan Machell, Gilly McHugh

This a collaborative project by Lancaster University and Manchester University the aim of which is to compare the exploitation of research within the two institutions.

Funded by the ESRC, 1997 - on-going.


14. Higher Education in National Economies

Oliver Fulton, Joan Machell, Gilly McHugh, Murray Saunders

This project examines the effects of governmental policies and programmes on the capacity for change and adaptation of higher education institutions. It is aimed specifically at providing a better understanding of the effects of governmental policies and programmes on the relationship between higher education institutions and the economy in eight European countries.


Saunders M and Machell J (2000) Understanding emerging trends in higher education curricula and work connections in Higher Education Policy 13 287-302

Funded by the EU’s TSER Programme, 1997 - 1999.


15. Evaluation of RE Char11: Multimedia Development project at Knowsley Community College.

Joan Machell & Mike O'Donoghue, 2000

This evaluation focussed on the perceptions and experiences of the first in-take of students on a multi-media training programme funded jointly from the ReChar initiative and by IBM.


16. Higher Education Courses at Barnsley College

Joan Machell & Gilly McHugh, 1999

This study, commissioned by Barnsley College reviewed the provision of HE courses within the College.

17. Six Degrees of Collaboration
Joan Machell, 2001

This was an evaluation of a collaborative project involving a partnership of 6 FE colleges. Eight expert cross-college teams worked together on 8 themes (e.g. widening participation, ILCTs etc). This project was co-ordinated by Knowsley Community College.


18. Key Skills in the Higher Education Curriculum

Joan Machell, 2001-11-05

This project was funded by the North West Development Agency and aimed to develop an approach to integrating Key Skills development within the curriculum.


19. Teams On-Line

Joan Machell, 2001

An evaluation of a project involving 6 colleges on Merseyside who developed a range of training courses (mainly delivered on-line) designed to meet the specific needs of SMEs. This was co-ordinated by Liverpool Community College.


20. Youthlink

Joan Machell, 1999

An evaluation of an EC-funded multi-agency collaborative project co-ordinated by Knowsley Community College. The broad aim was to tackle the issue of disaffection amongst young people on Merseyside.


21. Integra GAP (Guidance for Adults)

Joan Machell, 2000

This was an evaluation of an EC-funded multi-agency collaborative project co-ordinated by Liverpool Community College which focused on providing guidance to targeted groups of adults in areas of severe hardship on Merseyside.

22.LTSN (Learning Teaching Support Network) Evaluations and the Subject Centre Review for the Higher Education Academy

CSET has been undertaking the initial evaluations of the LTSN (Learning and Teaching Support Network in HE) in two phases. It is currently involved in the second phase evaluation which finishes in December 2004. The review of the Support Centre Network is due to be completed by December 2004.


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