Academic & Student Affairs

2008-2009 TQEF Funded Projects

The Impact of Performance: Postgraduate Skills as an Employability Strategy
Dr. Fiona Magowan, School of History and Anthropology

This project aims to develop a practice-based, student-centred postgraduate skills training module that addresses the relationship between academic and non-academic modes of writing and presentation and how they can be adapted for diverse employment contexts. It will provide transferable skills through a series of seminars using role playing; dramatic techniques, vocal skills and performative exercises to teach effective styles of delivery and communicative impact. It will also examine what different employers are looking for in terms of the relationship between writing styles, content and presentation. While the university emphasis in postgraduate study is to teach students how to compose critical arguments and write for academic audiences, they are seldom taught how to structure their presentational materials or presentational style in a way that is engaging, hard-hitting and that will give them an edge for diverse employment contexts. This one semester module will give students the chance to examine in-depth and at length, the relationship between their discipline-specific academic skills and their transferability for various employers, an interface that can often let postgraduate students down when they go for job interviews, are required to write in a non-academic style or present to other professionals or the public.

For further information, contact Dr. Fiona Magowan

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Lincoln Internships
Professor Catherine Clinton, US History, History and Anthropology

Our goal for this project is to establish programs to get our undergraduates involved in institutions where employability and skills are combined with their chosen field of study: history. We believe by creating opportunities for our students to spend a month working in a U.S. institution like the prestigious Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum, or to intern at the equally prestigious Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College will be an important program for our students. The group experience working within an American institution, plus the enhancement of the student’s resume will be a valuable program.  We have already secured some accommodation funding for the students from the Abraham Lincoln Museum and Library for 2008, and I am going to Gettysburg this year to discuss trying to create a similar scheme for 2009. By next summer I hope to have in place programs at both institutions. If this program works, we might be able to attract private donation funding to keep this opportunity open for our Northern Irish students of all economic backgrounds, rather than those who have the independent means to undertake such a summer project.

For further information, contact

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Enhancing Student Information Skills at Queen’s
Mr John Knowles, Senior Subject Librarian

The project will make available a range of innovative online packages to support the enhancement of student information skills at Queen’s. School-specific ‘learning objects’ will be produced in collaboration with the schools of Dentistry, Law and Psychology. These will be fully embedded into the PDP pages of Queen’s online and will be accessed within the context of student personal planning and skills development. The skills learnt will be an essential element in the future professional development of students at Queen’s, underpinning their capacity for lifelong learning.
The project will appoint a Project Officer to work with the wider project team to ensure the effective embedding of a range of School-specific ‘learning objects’ into the ‘Skills Builder’ element of the PDP pages of Queen’s Online. These innovative online packages will support the enhancement of student information skills by placing the expertise of Library and academic staff online in a series of discrete learning units. Students will be able to self-assess their information skills in the PDP context, and make use of the learning objects provided when setting and achieving personal development goals.

For further information, contact

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Utilising Social Enterprise as a Vehicle to Embed Enterprise and Employability skills in the Arts, Humanities and the Social Sciences; Empowering Students to Make Their Mark
Mr David Gibson, Queen’s University Management School

Amongst the growing demand for graduate skills such as entrepreneurship, creativity and leadership in what is now a very dynamic and competitive global market, this project attempts to offer “Enterprise for life” skills through innovative and best practice pedagogies, together with a suite of complementary experiential learning events presented in a social enterprise context. The proposed “Social Enterprise Skills” programme has the potential to enhance significantly the employability of the typically underemployed graduates in question and represents a very valuable supplement to their degree. Moreover, this programme also offers an ideal opportunity for students to collaborate with industry and engage in valuable workplace learning, in addition to empowering students to engage in personal development and action planning through self assessment and refection exercises on their PDP e-folio. Ultimately, this program will empower students to make their mark on both their local community and career development.

The project team will work closely with the Science Shop at Queen’s to identify a number of social needs (crime, poverty, teenage pregnancy, pollution, unemployment, housing access etc) that the students will subsequently develop a not-for-profit or social enterprise solution and an overall prize will be awarded to the best group.

Queen’s University named Entrepreneurial University of the Year

For further information, contact Mr David Gibson

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Certificate in Communication and Management for Engineers
Dr. Ulrich Ofterdinger, SPACE , Michele Crilly, School of Education)

Within the Engineering Disciplines, the employability of graduate students is not only determined by the technical qualifications obtained by individual students but also to a large extent by the level of the students’ transferable skills set, including communication skills. This project aims to build on the existing undergraduate skills training in the Engineering Disciplines within SPACE and expand the provision of the skills training in integration with the Personal Development Planning (PDP) Regime through specific certification of student achievement. The project allows students to develop their transferable key skills, including communications and management skills throughout their three year degree programme in a combination of varied teaching & learning approaches. Students’ efforts in developing their individual skills sets will be tracked through the Student Progress Files or Personal Development Planning (PDP) and credited by certification following successful completion of the proposed Certificate Programme. The certification of student achievement is aimed at highlighting the significance of skills training to students, incentivising student participation but foremost at increasing graduate employability.

For further information, contact Dr. Ulrich Ofterdinger

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