Orientations towards the future: student temporalities, employability, and the curriculum (2010)
Professor Sue Clegg, Jacqueline Stevenson, Corinna Tomrley
Total project value £6,000
This research is part of a pilot project which will form the basis of a bid for future funding to the Economic and Social Research Council. Across two HEIs we have been exploring, qualitatively how we might characterise the temporalities of the student life world; whether these vary by site, discipline, gender, social class, ethnic and/or religious identification; if and how students record their activities, and the temporalities implied by the curriculum. The research involves interviews with students about their conceptions of time and planning, from different disciplines across two institutions, focussing on the concrete time frames students are using in making decisions. The second part of the pilot is to develop a framework for discourse analysis of selected curricula in relationship to the discursive practices of time.
An exploration of the link between 'possible selves' and the attainment of BME students on social science courses (2009-2010)
Professor Sue Clegg, Professor Hilary Sommerlad, Jacqueline Stevenson, Linzi Anderson
Total project value £28,821
Funded by the HEA Centre for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics, this project is a collaboration between The Centre for Research into Higher Education and The Centre for Diversity in the Professions. The research is exploring the perceptions and experiences of BME and White students both at Leeds Met and in our partner FE colleges including the range of 'possible selves' students describe, whether there are different narratives in different social science settings and between groups of students from different ethnic and class backgrounds, and whether elaborate notions of possible selves positively correlate with students' immediate post-graduate plans and aspirations. Focus groups comprising over 50 students as well as individual interviews with 18 students and 5 staff have taken place to date. The research will also identify curriculum-based interventions which might best support the development of positive possible selves with particular reference to BME students and those social science students with low social capital on entry.
Summit Programme to Promote Student Success: Improving the Degree Attainment of Black and Minority Ethnic Students (2009-10)
Jacqueline Stevenson, Professor Hilary Sommerlad, Professor Harinder Bahra
Staff from the Centre, along with other colleague across the university, have been participating in this Equality Challenge Unit/Higher Education Academy funded national project researching differentials in degree attainments between different ethnic groups. Our participation in the programme was designed to reduce this gap, focussing primarily on students undertaking 'professional' courses such as Law, Social Work and Accountancy. Since we believe it is crucial for staff and students to work collaboratively to effect change, we have worked with Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) student researchers to explore, qualitatively, BME students' rationales for undertaking their respective courses, how they imagine their future 'possible selves', their understanding of the labour market they intend to enter post graduation and their experiences of issues around equality and discrimination. We have also undertaken an image analysis and a documentary analysis and delivered a series of staff focus groups analysing and exploring findings from the research.
Further information on the Summit programme can be found here:
John Willott and Jacqueline Stevenson contributed to the final ECU/HEA Ethnicity, Gender and Degree Attainment Project which led to the development of the Summit programme. Their report can be found here:
An exploration of resilience: why do some students drop out while others in similar circumstances do not do so? (2009)
Professor Sally Brown, Jacqueline Stevenson, Ruth Lefever, Sean Dirrane, Lucia Poole and Amanda Wilson
Total project value: £10,000
Funded by Aimhigher West Yorkshire this cross-university project explored the internal and external resources students draw on when facing threats to their well-being; how their future 'possible selves' affect motivation, retention and attainment and the extent to which students can to set and achieve realistic goals for themselves that can reduce the risk of them dropping out of higher education. Our research focussed on the link between resilience and educational achievement in students who have made the transition from care to higher education and how school and parental influence prior to attending HE, and staff attitudes and institutional ethos in HE, affect the elaboration of the possible selves of working class boys and ethnic minority students.
The research has resulted in the production of a booklet made available to 1000 students which can be downloaded here:
Extending conceptualisations of the diversity and value of extra-curricula activities: a cultural capital approach to graduate outcomes (2007- 2008)
Professor Sue Clegg, Jacqueline Stevenson, Dr John Willott, Dr Pauline Wilson
Total project value: £29,347
Funded by the Higher Education Academy we conducted research with staff and students (via semi structured interviews and a comprehensive survey to all fulltime level 2 students) designed to identify the forms of extra-curricular activities (ECAs) students participate in and the value given to this participation by both students and staff. Our research found that whilst participation in ECA contributes to graduate outcomes, traditional ECAs are differentially accessed and valued, mirroring the class bias in the sorts of activities that contribute to the formation of general social and cultural capital. However, many students now routinely work part-time, particularly those from less privileged backgrounds, home-based students may continue to participate in 'local' (i.e. non-university) ECAs and women students, in particular, may continue non-paid caring responsibilities. Our research found that not only does the traditional view of ECA not capture the diversity of activity taking place, but participation varies among different groups of students, certain forms of ECA are privileged over others and, critically, some groups of students have difficulty in converting their participation in ECA into social and cultural capital and thus into enhancing their employability.
Journal papers relating to this project can be accessed here: http://www.springerlink.com/content/p476288600n56833/
The final project report can be accessed here
Mainstreaming & Sustaining Widening Participation (2008)
Total project value: £3,000
Jacqueline Stevenson, Inder Hunjan, David Arblaster, John Reaney and John Dishman
This Action on Access funded project was designed to establish clearer monitoring and evaluation processes to ensure WP is embedded in the core business of the University, across all faculties and subject areas; investigate reasons for differentials in degree attainment and participation of ethnic minority students and develop plans to improve graduate outcomes; develop policies to assist students with their social and emotional growth and the acquisition of skills; assess the university's existing partnerships and how we can continue to improve access from under-represented groups and embed research and evaluation in the corporate WP strategy and activity and ensure Leeds Met is in the vanguard of excellence for WP research and practice. This work led to the commissioning, internally, of a Quality Enhancement Audit of Widening Participation.
Further information on the national programme can be found at: http://www.actiononaccess.org/index.php?p=11_2_3
Embedding ethics and ethical practice within and across the curriculum (2007-8)
Total project value: £10,000
Jacqueline Stevenson, Dr. Marie-Odile Leconte, Professor Simon Robinson
Funded from the Teaching Quality Enhancement Fund, our research explored common understandings of ethics, ethical principles and ethical behaviour and the knowledge, awareness, dispositions, and skills that it was expected that higher education staff and students should develop - to enable them to behave ethically within the institution, develop as ethical researchers and understand and apply notions of professional ethics. Whilst there were commonalities across groups we also found significant variations between staff and students and across social and cultural groups. These differences not only challenge the notion of a consensual ethical identity but left us wondering "whose ethical university is it anyway?"
A journal paper relating to this project can be accessed here: