Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32451
Students, Knowledge and Employability

Authors: James Moir


Citizens are increasingly are provided with choice and customization in public services and this has now also become a key feature of higher education in terms of policy roll-outs on personal development planning (PDP) and more generally as part of the employability agenda. The goal here is to transform people, in this case graduates, into active, responsible citizen-workers. A key part of this rhetoric and logic is the inculcation of graduate attributes within students. However, there has also been a concern with the issue of student lack of engagement and perseverance with their studies. This paper sets out to explore some of these conceptions that link graduate attributes with citizenship as well as the notion of how identity is forged through the higher education process. Examples are drawn from a quality enhancement project that is being operated within the context of the Scottish higher education system. This is further framed within the wider context of competing and conflicting demands on higher education, exacerbated by the current worldwide economic climate. There are now pressures on students to develop their employability skills as well as their capacity to engage with global issues such as behavioural change in the light of environmental concerns. It is argued that these pressures, in effect, lead to a form of personalization that is concerned with how graduates develop their sense of identity as something that is engineered and re-engineered to meet these demands.

Keywords: students, higher education, employability, knowledge, personal development

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 1610


[1] S. M. Davis, Future Perfect. MA: Addison-Wesley, 1987.
[2] R. Barnett, " Graduate attributes in an age of uncertainty" . In P. Hager & S. Holland (Eds.) Graduate Attributes, Learning and Employability. Drordrecht: Springer, 2006.
[3] A. Petersen, A. "Authentic self-realization and depression". International Sociology, vol. 26 no. 1, pp. 5-24, January 2011.
[4] S. C. Barrie, "A conceptual framework for the teaching and learning of generic graduate attributes.". Studies In Higher Education. Vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 439-458, July 2007, p.444)
[5] Global University Network for Innovation, Higher Education at a Time of Transformation: New Dynamics for Social Responsibility,
[6] A. Fejes, A. "Discourses on Employability: Constituting the Responsible Citizen". Studies in Continuing Education, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 89-102, July, 2010.
[7] B. Lambier, and S. Ramaekers, S. "The Limits of ÔÇÿBlackboard- are the limits of my world: On the changing concepts of the university and its students" E-Learning and Digital Media, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 544-551, 2006.
[8] J. Moir, J. " Personal Development Planning in Higher Education: Localised Thinking for a Globalised World" In J. M. Resende. & M. M. Vieira (Eds) The Crisis of Schooling? Learning, Knowledge and Competencies in Modern Societies. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009.
[9] P. Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum, 1970.
[10] D. Otter, D. "Globalisation and sustainability. Global perspectives and education for sustainable development in Higher Education." In E. Jones & S. Brown (Eds.), Internationalising Higher Education, London: Routledge.
[11] M. Tennant, C. McMullen, and D Kaczynski, Teaching, Learning and research in Higher Education: A Critical Approach. Abindon, Oxon. Routledge, 2010 (Ch.4)
[12] Mezirow, J. (1991) Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.