• Arts university student mentors and gallery peer leaders: partnerships for learning

      Butcher, John; University of Northampton (HEA Art Design Media subject centre, 2010)
      This case study describes a partnership between University College Falmouth (UCF) and Tate St. Ives (TSI). Framed within a national Enquire project (one strand of a DCMS funded commissioning programme) investigating the learning benefits of gallery education, the report tells the story of a successful collaboration which engaged undergraduate Art student mentors from UCF in a peer leadership project at TSI. The project was evaluated using an innovative action research model to explore peer learning through engagement. Outcomes suggest undergraduate student mentors enhanced their learning in a number of ways: experientially developing the ‘soft’ transferable skills related to employability in the arts; improving their knowledge of employment opportunities in gallery settings; gaining competence in action research.
    • Contextualised approaches to widening participation: a comparative case study of two UK universities

      Butcher, John; Corfield, Rohini; Rose-Adams, John; University of Derby; University of Northampton; Open University (The Open University/, 2012-01)
      This article reports on institutional research at two contrasting UK universities, each with different foci in relation to widening participation (WP). The researchers sought to explore senior staff perspectives on the WP agenda at a time of unprecedented uncertainty and turmoil in the UK higher education sector. The research consisted primarily of interview data from university leaders responsible strategically for WP activity. The findings offer a nuanced narrative of the policy and practice of widening participation at two contrasting universities. Researchers found that the WP discourse itself is perceived as confused and discredited. Viewing ‘widening participation students’ as a homogenised group risks both the benefits of differentiated responses through discipline or subject areas and the benefits of more student-centred measures of success.
    • Enhancing design learning through partnerships: the case of Joinedupdesign for Academies

      Butcher, John; Schaber, Friedemann; University of Northampton (HEA Art Design media subject centre, 2011)
      This case study describes a partnership between the University of Northampton and the Sorrell Foundation’s Joinedupdesign for Academies programme, a pilot scheme aimed at informing the transition of struggling secondary (11-18) schools into re-designed and re-built academies. 12 second year undergraduate Design students participated, working closely with pupils at two secondary schools in Bedfordshire. We explored impact on student learning for employability and undergraduate learning with pupils as clients, as well as the challenge of working with multiple partners including schools. We report Joinedupdesign for Academies as a new model of off-campus learning.
    • Enhancing professional self-esteem: learners’ journeys on a distance-learning Doctorate in Education (EdD)

      Butcher, John; Sieminski, Sandy; University of Northampton; Open University (University of Northampton, 2009)
      This article explores the motivations, experiences and perceived outcomes for Doctorate in Education (EdD) students in their journey through a relatively new form of doctoral education at a distance. The research draws on a range of individual EdD participant voices, both student and graduate, and is timely in focusing on an example of an under-researched but increasingly common phenomenon of part-time distance learning professional doctorates. The aims of the research were: to understand what motivated students to register for an EdD; to explore the factors which successfully sustained them on their journey; to identify common outcomes on completion. The researchers developed a case study of the student EdD journey in its distinctive professional context(s). Data was collected in a number of linked stages including postal surveys, semi-structured interviews, and students’ reflective evaluations at different points. Key themes related to professional postgraduate learner transitions emerge from the data, which contrast with previous work on the traditional PhD and relate to: the deliberate choice by students of a part-time distance learning route; a broader and better-informed understanding of professional outcomes on a professionally-oriented doctorate; the value of flexible support systems for EdD students working in demanding educational roles.
    • How might inclusive approaches to assessment enhance student learning in HE?

      Butcher, John; Sedgwick, Paul; Lazard, Lisa; Hey, Jayne; University of Northampton (University of Northampton, 2010)
      This article reports some of the results from an investigation into issues around inclusivity in assessment undertaken at the University of Northampton (2009-2010). The Assess4success research project was conducted within a framework provided by the Higher Education Academy Summit programme on inclusive learning and teaching, and sought to explore the extent to which inclusivity, (a high level commitment in the university’s access and teaching policies), was embedded in students’ experiences of assessment. Drawing on internal quantitative data across the institution suggesting specific groups were more likely to struggle with summative assessment in Year 1, and qualitative data exploring sample student experiences in relation to formative assessment tasks, a series of generic recommendations to enhance the inclusivity of assessment practice both in the host institution and across the sector are offered.
    • The impact of a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education on university lecturers appointed for their professional expertise at a teaching-led university: 'It's made me braver'.

      Butcher, John; Stoncel, D.; University of Derby; University of Northampton (Routledge, 2011-11-23)
      This article explores the impact of a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education (PG Cert.) on new lecturers, appointed for their professional expertise. It focuses on staff perceptions of acculturation into the discourses of university learning and teaching. Drawing on a literature review which reveals (at best) ambivalent evidence of impact, the authors developed a case study investigating impact on staff changing careers into university teaching on the basis of their professional expertise. The data reveal positive outcomes, including the transition into confident and competent HE professionals.
    • Off-campus learning and employability in undergraduate design: the Sorrell Young Design project as an innovative partnership

      Butcher, John; University of Northampton (Intellect, 2008)
      This article reports on research which explored the opportunity for extra-curricular undergraduate learning afforded by the Young Design Project (YDP), aimed at bringing together HE Design students, industry and schools. The research was undertaken in the context of the importance attached to ‘employability’ as a key driver for recent policy developments in Higher Education (see Leitch review and Cox report), as well as the political importance of Widening Participation initiatives between HEIs and schools. This research investigated the second iteration of the YDP in 2007, with 32 undergraduate students from two design degrees at University College Falmouth (BA Graphic Design and BA Spatial Design) on a project based in four Cornish schools (three secondary, one primary). The research sought to answer the question: what do undergraduate students learn from working with pupils as clients and industry practitioners in the context of a school-based project? This question is explored through a case study drawing on four triangulated phases of data collection: desk research of relevant policy documentation; pre-project semi-structured questionnaire; post-project focus group interviews and individual face-to-face interviews with key gatekeepers. As well as reflecting on the opportunity to engage with innovative learning in design, the findings offer fruitful insights to HE practitioners and policy makers considering issues around off-campus learning. This research recommends notions of ‘employability’ be subject to greater scrutiny in HE policy, since a key finding from this research is the crucial importance of appropriately resourced authentic project partnerships for deep and worthwhile undergraduate learning to take place.
    • “Towards professional multilingualism?” Reconceptualising the school coordinator role in Initial Teacher Training.

      Butcher, John; Mutton, Trevor; University College Falmouth; Oxford University (Routledge, 2008)
      This article explores the school coordinator role in Initial Teacher Training (ITT) in England. Recognising that mentoring is fully embedded and highly researched in ITT, it argues the role of the coordinator, while integral to partnerships (DfE, 1992) is far less researched. We investigate tensions in the role, between managing programme-wide quality assurance, teaching professional studies and developing school-based mentors. These questions were explored through multi-site case studies with four HEIs and their partner schools in four linked phases of data collection. Data analysis established a range of different conceptualisations of the role, with only limited evidence of a development role with their mentors. We argue for policies which establish a more coherent conceptualisation of the role, and an agreed nomenclature. A key recommendation is to free coordinators from bureaucratic demands on their time to enable them to exemplify a new “professional multilingualism”.
    • ‘We will take them from anywhere’: schools working within multiple initial teacher training partnerships

      Mutton, Trevor; Butcher, John; Oxford University; University College Falmouth (Routledge, 2008-02)
      This article reports on a small-scale study focusing on the role of the initial teacher training (ITT) coordinator in schools in England in terms of working simultaneously across and within a number of different ITT partnerships. Data collection involved a review of the relevant course documentation of the four main higher education institutions working in one region, a postal questionnaire to 113 primary schools and secondary schools within that region and semistructured telephone interviews with six school-based ITT coordinators. The data were analysed within broad categories identifying the facilitators and constraints of carrying out the role when working in partnership with a number of different ITT providers. The findings indicate that there is a developing trend towards schools in England working with multiple partners, particularly in the case of secondary schools and that, notwithstanding the administrative difficulties sometimes caused, there are clear perceived advantages to working in such a way, both for the schools themselves and for the trainees in those schools. The implications of this in terms of partnerships between schools and ITT providers are explored, as are the