Graduate Research Candidate
BFA, Dip Teaching (TAFE & Vocational Education), MCom
|Contact Campus||Sandy Bay Campus|
|Building||Faculty of Business, Commerce Building|
|Telephone||+61 3 6226 2953|
|Fax||+61 3 6226 2170|
Chris has been teaching with the School of Management for six years. During this time she has taught a wide range of under-graduate and post-graduate units in the human resource management discipline. She has been responsible for the co-ordination of both on-shore and off-shore units and the flexibilisation of Communication for Business Professionals. Chris' teaching expertise extends across the following units:
Chris joined the School of Management in 2006 as a casual tutor and research assistant. Aside from a diverse teaching portfolio, Chris developed flexible learning materials for Organisational Behaviour; multi-media case studies and student guide for Business Communication and a fully integrated tutorial program for Introduction to Management. In her Research Assistant role Chris undertook an extensive review of research methods utilised in Human Resource Management. In 2010 Chris commenced her Masters investigating the relationship between hybrid flexible delivery and critical engagement in tertiary education. Chris' current teaching portfolio includes Communication for Business Professionals and Organisational Behaviour (under-graduate and post-graduate). Chris has been responsible for the flexibilisation of Communication for Business Professionals. Chris is engaged in marketing the School of Management to the emerging student market in India.
Chris' core research interests lie in the fields of management and education. With the increasing implementation of hybrid flexible delivery, this has prompted questions about whether or not hybrid flexible delivery methods provide a pedagogically sound foundation on which to provide educational programs in the tertiary environment. Chris is interested in contributing to the debate about what critical engagement actually means, how it is best measured, why it is important in the context of learning and how hybrid flexible delivery affects the level of critical engagement.
There is strong research-based evidence that professional employability requires graduates to be able to demonstrate their achievement of graduate attributes (Treleaven & Voola 2008; Hoban et al 2004; Kember & Leung 2005). It is important for an Australian university graduate to have core competencies to participate in the workforce and to be an active and engaged citizen at both the community and global levels (Australian Learning and Teaching Council, 2009).
Research confirms the call from industry for greater emphasis on graduate attributes and in the perceived role of universities in developing their students' capacities (Vu, Rigby & Mather 2011). There are however, concerns about graduate's preparedness for work, both in Australia and globally (Vu, Rigby et al. 2011). These concerns have been cited by the Australian Chamber of Commerce (ACC), The Business Industry and Higher Education Collaboration Council (BIHECC) (report from 2007); Australian Business Deans Council (ABDC) scoping study (Freeman et al., 2008); Business Council of Australia (BCA) who assert that university graduates don't have appropriate "soft skills" (Vu et al 2011). Graduate attribute skills are seen as 'enabling attributes which sit not as parallel learning outcomes to disciplinary knowledge, but as abilities that sit at the very heart of discipline knowledge and learning' (Barrie, 2003 p. 4).
The importance and relevance of graduate attribute skills is recognised not only in higher education institutions and professional industry bodies, but also by governments and accrediting bodies for quality assurance purposes (Treleavan & Voola 2008). Bowden et al (2000) suggest it is the role of universities to produce citizens who can be agents for social change; be prepared for an uncertain future and be good in the community. There is also an increasing emphasis on lifelong learning and graduate attribute skills are commonly taken to characterise lifelong learning (Candy, Crebert & O'Leary, 1994). This is well illustrated by the 'profile of the lifelong learner' proposed by Candy, Crebert & O'Leary (1994, pp. 43 - 4 cited in Hager & Holland, 2006).
At present there have been few studies attempting to identify and describe the structures, processes and circumstances through which graduate attributes can be developed in the higher education sector and how these might operate and/or be suppressed (Wynn & Williams, 2012; Tsoukas, 1989). This study attempts to develop a plausible and set of valid explanations of past events that relate to the operation (and/or suppression) of structures, processes, and circumstances that are not directly observable by the researchers but assumed to positively influence graduate attribute skills development. Mahoney (2003) argues, that given that the explanation to be developed relates to an outcome that has already occurred (and therefore cannot be tested); the challenge is to develop a set of plausible postulates to tease out the presence of 'unobservable mechanisms'.
Therefore, an epistemology drawn from the critical realist paradigm (Danermark, 2002; Bhaskhar, 1975) is used to advance this study. The proposed research approach is a longitudinal qualitative investigation applying a 'layered' method using the researcher's own experiences and observations; retrospective semi-structured interviews and a questionnaire followed by focus groups sampling 2nd and 3rd year students within the School of Management at the University of Tasmania. To get amplification of evidence, data will be collected from two semesters across a two year period from students who have completed one or more of a traditional, intensive or experiential learning delivery management unit with a high content focus. In essence, either a descriptive or explanatory case study method using critical realist techniques will be used. An explanatory case study may be used to do causal investigations; to analyse or explain why something has happened or happens (Yin, 1993).
Graduate attributes; employability; higher education.
Authorised by the Head of School, Management
13 May, 2013