Building the “University of the Future” in partnership with our students

Author: Sam Bayley
Department of Sociology, University of York

Abstract

For the first time this year, the Department of Sociology ran a four-day-long, extra-curricular event for all of our undergraduates. This took place in the first week of the Spring Term (making use of time in which our students do not have other assessments).

The objectives of the event were to enable students to develop and reflect on vocational skills which may not explicitly link to a Sociology programme but are considered important by employers from many different fields (for example, financial management, team leadership, negotiation, and presenting). A supplementary aim was to develop the sense of academic community within the Department.

Students were asked to work independently in small teams, which were formed randomly from a mix of year groups, with the ultimate aim of presenting a proposal for a new university within the city of York to an expert panel. They attended a number of workshops to help them understand the context of the higher education sector as well as to address specific skills development. These were supported by a range of practitioners (for example from KPMG, PwC, and University professional services colleagues), as well as academic colleagues from around the University. We also invited a VIP from another institution to chair our expert panel.

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