• Responding to the employability agenda: developments in the politics and international relations curriculum in English universities.

      Lee, Donna; Foster, E.; Snaith, H. (2013)
      With some of the lowest levels of graduate employability across university campuses, and the non-vocational nature of most Politics/International Relations (IR) undergraduate degree programmes, the discipline faces a huge challenge in responding to the increasingly prevalent employability agenda in higher education. Indeed, as Politics/IR students feel the burden of the £9000 annual student fee now charged by most universities,5 and an ever-more contracting and competitive jobs market, a review of existing employability training and learning in the Politics/IR curriculum in universities has never been so essential. As such, this paper – based on a Higher Education Agency (HEA) funded project, Employability Learning and the Politics/IR Curriculum – explores the employability learning provision in a cross-section of English higher education institutions (HEIs) with a view to identifying examples of good practice in order to generate reflection on how best the discipline can respond to the employability agenda. The original project maps how employability is ingrained in various Politics/IR departments’6 curriculum. Here we present some of our preliminary findings. The bulk of this paper is formed by a discussion of the results we have gathered to date. Before proceeding to the data, however, we begin this paper by setting out the background to the employability agenda. In particular, we seek to highlight the ways in which the employability agenda has developed and been framed in higher education, as well as detailing the statistics on graduate employability in Politics/IR in order to provide some quantitative context. In so doing we aim to lay out the scale of the practical and pedagogic challenges we face as a discipline. We then go on to discuss the methodology of the project, before finally presenting and analysing our findings.