Category / Guidance

Enterprise Education and Employer Engagement explained

You may hear the terms Enterprise Education and Employer Engagement banded about quite a lot but what do they actually mean? Jo Stark, BU’s Employer Engagement and Entrepreneurship Manager, provides some further clarification.

Enterprise Education

The term “Enterprise Education” at BU draws together existing pockets of best practice into a coherent whole that will provide a focus for further development across the institution and beyond institutional boundaries.

For an example of this see the Dynamo Enterprise Boot Camp Video which provides a bite size overview of the 2010 enterprise boot camp for students that BU facilitated with four other regional universities in collaboration with local businesses.

By embedding opportunities for our students to engage in external activity within the curriculum, academics can not only enhance our students’ employability, but also develop their profile with employers. This can be embedded through live consultancy projects, business simulation challenges and involvement in the entrepreneurship society – Business Mania.Business Mania logo

Although activity such as student placement and graduate recruitment does not create direct enterprise income, it offers BU and its academics a significant platform for employer engagement. As an example, by helping our graduates to gain employment not only develops relationships with employers, but enables the academic to maintain the relationship with the graduate, who, in a few years could become a client for BU.

By demonstrating “enterprising” attributes through their approach to teaching and research, academics will not only encourage their students to think this way, but will also develop opportunities for income-generating activity.

The team in the Centre for Research and Enterprise (CRE) have recently supported academics in DEC to develop a dedicated enterprise module in the Software Systems degree framework. The team not only helped with the development of curriculum, but also provide external speakers for guest lectures to help enhance the learning experience for the students and develop wider opportunities.

Employer Engagement

At BU ‘Employer Engagement’ is defined as any form of contact between BU and an employer that attempts to effect a change in the intellectual capital, understanding or behaviour of an employer, for specific purpose of commercial gain on BU’s part or to benefit the economy of region and wider public.

BU takes its interpretation of Employer Engagement therefore as Enterprise in its widest sense. BU includes activity focussed at both business and community:

1.    Demand led learning and teaching provision (Short courses)

2.    Workforce Development (CPD)

3.    An active stakeholder in the economic prosperity of the conurbation and wider region

4.    Employer focussed curriculum development

5.    Employability (student and graduate placements)

In order to do this, it is vital that, as part of this activity an in-depth understanding of HE and economic policy is maintained, not only enabling BU to remain reactive to external drivers, but also remain competitive in an increasingly dynamic market place.

Through this activity CRE is able to generate opportunities for the institution, academic staff and students. In recent months CRE has established a strategic relationship with a blue chip multi-national and brokered the opportunity across to a leading Prof. Numerous placement and graduate recruitment opportunities are captured and disseminated to the appropriate schools. This activity also enables CRE to identify employer demand for specific short course development.

For further information contact Jo Stark who will be happy to help. Otherwise check out the BU Enterprise Intranet pages on Enterprise Education and Employer Engagement.

Thoughts on writing recommendations for a research thesis

Prof Edwin van Teijlingen (HSC) examined a PhD candidate last year whose recommendations were only Prof Edwin van Teijlingenvaguely related to the work presented in the thesis. Since then he has examined several PhD theses which had an interesting range of recommendations not directly related to the student’s study findings. Listed below are his ideas about ‘appropriate’ recommendations:

Many postgraduate students make recommendations that are too broad, too generic, or not directly related to the exact topic of their research. These recommendations are not wrong; they are simply not specific / relevant enough. Examiners like to see some more mundane recommendations that come specifically from the thesis / research work.

First, you should not really recommend anything that you have not previously discussed in the Discussion. The rule ‘no new material’ in your Conclusion is also applicable to your ‘Recommendations’.University of Olomouc thesis from 1713 with motif of Ottoman Wars

Secondly, recommendations are not the same as conclusions. Consider recommendations go one step further than conculsions as (a) ‘something’; (b) ‘someone’; and (c) ‘needs to do’.

Furthermore, there may be different levels within your set of Recommendations, with recommendations for (a) academic (i.e. more research is needed into…), (b) for policy-makers (e.g. data protection act needs to change to accommodate…); for (c) practitioners (e.e. managers in local government need to consider the mental well-bing of their staff); or recommendation for (d) training / education (e.g. health promotion officers employed in inner-city Birmingham need to be trained in being culturally sensitive to several large ethnic minority communities to help them fulfil their role better in the community).

We’re interested to know your thoughts on this and to hear your experiences of advising postgraduate students when writing their recommendations. Let us know what you think by adding a comment.

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