What is a university for?

Professor Jess Power, Associate Dean – Students


There are several possible interpretations of the fundamental role of a university, however the one that holds close to my values and beliefs is “the university” as an institution for the creation and dissemination of knowledge, creating graduates who have a genuine commitment to making the world a better place and of being significant players in civil society. The western university model has been a remarkable success and is one in which we should have immense pride. Operational freedom within an interactive setting which enables excellence across teaching, research, learning and enterprise opening unlimited opportunities for many. However, in an increasingly complex and uncertain world the role of the university is constantly being questioned. In particular there has been a recent drive for developing “value”, in the form of employable work ready graduates. This may be interpreted as a set of desirable skills and attributes to be embedded within the curriculum or perhaps and more importantly the development of an entrepreneurial mind-set. The ability to think outside the box, to adapt and respond to change in a fast paced environment and more importantly the ability to be able to communicate within and beyond their academic discipline is perceived key to graduates contributing to societal challenges.

In today’s global economy and in society as a whole we are faced with many complex challenges (clean water, ageing population, disaster management, global-warming, sustainable food production, transitioning populations), which require new ways of working. It is widely accepted that innovative and sustainable solutions for many complex global social issues reach far beyond the boundaries of a single academic discipline or methodological approach and as such the practical argument for embedding interdisciplinarity and interdisciplinary collaboration opportunities into the learning experience within universities is strong. Interdisciplinary working is widely accepted to be the new mode of knowledge production, it focuses on building intellectual capacity and is supported by government policy makers and research funding agencies. Many of the most exciting developments cross traditional disciplinary boundaries and therefore have great potential to break through complex societal problems and foster innovation.

The concept of interdisciplinarity within Higher Education is not new: Thompson and Fogel (1921), acknowledged in their publication ‘Higher Education and Social Change’ that all social problems require interdisciplinary skills and knowledge. They expanded on this by stating: “if graduates … are to be societies’ leaders …they need a broad social and historical perspective that is difficult to achieve in one discipline”. Thompson and Forgel’s (1921) paper highlighted specifically the need for Higher Educational institutions to promote interdisciplinarity as a means of developing the essential skills of leadership required to impact on civil society.

So, what is a university for? It is to change mind-set, opening up opportunities to bring together individuals to generate knowledge to solve societal problems for the good of mankind. Thus, the connections we make, the disciplines we cross and the knowledge we form are only part of the picture, it is the transformative impact on people’s life’s that we make that hold the true meaning of the value of a university, which instil the leadership qualities desired to make the world a better place.

 

Thompson, K.W. & Fogel, B.R. (1921). Higher Education and Social Change: Promising Experiments in Developing Countries. Vol 1 Reports. US: Praeger.

www.staffs.ac.uk 

A day out at Conkers

Simon Hughes, Student, Staffordshire Business School


‘Conkers’ is a day out at an activity centre in Derbyshire, where a group of new Staffordshire University students spent a day during Welcome Week. The day is used to bring people out of their shell and get them involved with various activities that involve communicating and working as part of a team.

The day started out and there was not much interaction between each member of the group and when we arrived at conkers there was still very little interaction while waiting to be split into teams to take part in several activities throughout the day.

When the students were separated into teams, I could see how they were bonding and forming a rapport with their teammates. I strongly recommend this to any person looking to improve their team working skills plus it’s a great confidence booster. It will also help them to ‘find their voice’ to help with communication skills.

The first part of the day was mainly about the communication within their teams. They had to get a bucket of water through an obstacle course, without losing too much water and not letting it touch the ground.

All the teams seemed to have a lot of fun no matter what the weather.

 

 

 

 

The second activity of which the teams took part in, was aimed at helping them build their self-confidence and to believe in themselves with a high wire walk.

 

 

They also had a lower wire for those who had not got as much confidence.

The third activity the team took part in was called `bush craft` where they were split into smaller groups to build a shelter showing their ability to work together as part of a team.
They also had to build a fire under the instructor’s guidance, by gathering wood so that they could toast their marshmallows.

By the end of all the activities, it was apparent that all who took part gained something positive from their experiences. Team working skills and communication were improved and it also helped with their self-confidence.

 

Middleport Pottery – my experience by Simon Hope

by Simon Hope on the BA Tourism Management award (top up)

Pots, Plates and plenty of clay. Middleport Pottery is a historical attraction based in Burslem, Stoke on Trent. It consists of a factory tour, history tour, tea rooms and a shop. The site promotes the history and culture behind the potteries industry and transports you back to the past.

It started in 1888, as a working potteries factory and had fallen into despair until it was brought by the United Kingdom Historical Building Preservation Trust and renovated so that the factory can be continued to be worked.

Some of the range of Burleigh Pottery

Some of the range of Burleigh Pottery

We were toured round the factory by Tony who was a volunteer (as are all the tour guides) that was very insightful about the factory and all the history surrounding Middleport Pottery. We started on the old cobbled path then followed the path round to the clay dispense room with runners. Then we progressed through the factory tour developing more and more knowledge.

I really enjoyed the tour, it felt personal and connected. I felt like I was being transported back in time and I was surprised at how most of the factory preserved the historical feel whilst still operating. Whilst we were touring we saw the whole process and was able to see an order for Ralph Lauren which was exciting.

Middleport Pottery

Middleport Pottery

It was a completely different process to the World of Wedgwood (WoW) which we have visited previously.  WoW was very modern, and the tour was more views from a side line whereas Middleport pottery was much more hands on and interesting.

Bottle Kilns. The most interesting part of the tour brought us to one of the bottles kilns. I stood inside the kiln looking up towards the sky, thinking of how many thousands of pieces of crafts and the people who worked in these conditions. I was astounded, and it has made a lasting impression.

I would recommend the tour to any tourist student that wants an insight to history of the pottery industries. It has helped me to see how the operations of volunteer-based attraction works and I have seen where there is potential for the attraction to develop and maintain its advantage.

Overall, I would like to thank Middleport Pottery and Tony for the time taken to show us around the site. I would also like to promote the attraction to anyone who is interested in Stoke on Trent history and potteries.

Middleport Pottery on facebook 

Middleport Pottery on twitter

You may also be interested in our blog on resources for Chinese visitor for Middleport Pottery

Is Live Nation’s market share cause for concern?

Written by Paul Walters, Lecturer, Staffordshire Business School


The global event industry has grown significantly over the past ten years and in part due to the introduction of Live Nation as a concert touring company. The UK has benefited from their strategic alliances, buyouts and ownership with some of the entertainment products in the UK. The company has grown to become more than live music but a one stop-shop for venue management, artist management, ticketing, concert touring and festival management. Some commentators within the industry have aired their views as to the growth and dominance of Live Nation within the UK. The company was investigated by the Competition Commission regulator on the merger with Ticketmaster. Not the first time Live Nation was investigated by the UK regulator. One can debate if Live Nation has a market share of the UK live music industry that warrants concern. It is difficult to disagree on what Live Nation has brought to the global economy for live events. The company is now in more than 40 different countries developing a similar business module taken from the USA. It is therefore accurate to conclude that Live Nation is the largest live concert touring company in the world.

In an article published in Music Business world 2018, The Association for Independent Festival organiser is considering lodging a complaint to the Competition and Marketing Authority. It is claimed by AIF that Live Nation has 25% control over the UK festival industry.        

https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/ticketmaster-entertainment-live-nation-inc-merger-inquiry-cc

Association of Independent Festivals

 


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Jobs of the future

Written by Rachel Gowers, Associate Dean


By 2025 it’s estimated that we will lose over five million jobs to automation. Don’t worry though – jobs are getting more interesting with machines handling the more mundane tasks. Your time will be freed up from performing the repetitive tasks of the past so you can focus on more fun stuff like knowledge creation and innovation. Here are some of the jobs to look out for:

Data Analyst – Data analysts are in high demand across all sectors, such as finance, consulting, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, government and education. Data analysts translate numbers into plain English. Every business collects data, whether it’s sales figures, market research, logistics, or transportation costs. A data analyst’s job is to take that data and use it to help companies make better business decisions.

Forensic Accountant – As a forensic accountant, you’ll utilise your accountancy skills to investigate financial discrepancies and inaccuracies such as fraudulent activity, financial misrepresentation or misconduct and disputes. The role involves an integration of accounting, auditing and investigative skills. You will carry out meticulous investigations to uncover information, identify specific irregularities in financial documents and reports, quantify the exact losses and trace and recover illegitimate funds.

UX Analyst – User Experience (UX) roles involve delivering the best possible experience for the user of a website, with the aim of making the website as straightforward to use as possible. The term UX analyst arises as the role involves a lot of analysis of users’ behaviours and preferences in order to create the best experience for the user. As a UX analyst you will look at the content of websites, and also the design elements, such as colours and images. Within some companies you’ll focus on research skills and psychology, in others you’ll concentrate on design and in some you’ll fulfil a more technical IT role.

Content Creator – A content creator is someone who is responsible for the contribution of information to any media and most especially to digital media. They usually target a specific end-user/audience in specific contexts. Facebook hires thousands of content creators and editors every year to not only provide content but also to monitor what is happening on-line.

Talent Manager – A talent manager’s responsibilities include designing employee training programs, building succession plans and crafting an internal promotion process. To be successful in this role, you should have a solid understanding of full-cycle recruiting along with a strategic mind-set in order to develop a skilled workforce. Ultimately, you will build a talent pipeline that aligns with our hiring needs and business objectives.

Customer Experience Manager – Customer Experience Managers can be in any industry, here are responsibilities for a manager in the leisure and Theme Park Business. You’ll propose and implement strategies to constantly improve customer satisfaction and park development. Additionally, you may also oversee or take sole responsibility for the marketing of the park in order to generate business. You’ll be involved in all areas of the park, including rides, retail and food and beverages. Theme park managers may also be known as guest experience managers, rides and operations managers or attractions managers.

 

If you’re interested in a job of the future our Business and Accounting Degrees prepare you for these roles.

If you’re interested in a career in Leisure why not try the FdA in Visitor Attraction and Resort Management in partnership with Alton Towers.

A Recipe for Success

Written by Angela Lawrence, Associate Dean at Staffordshire business school


There’s an Autumn nip in the air, the Great British Bake Off has begun and the annual McMillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning is just around the corner. Kenwood mixers are whirling into action in kitchens across the UK.

Meanwhile, bags are being packed, goodbyes said, and freshers are itching to begin their university life. Around the World lecturers are preparing to welcome their new students and planning for the academic year to come.

It strikes me that these two situations have something in common. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that all lecturers are good bakers (far from it!), but there is something vaguely familiar about the nurturing, caring principles of baking and lecturing; the desire for a good outcome and the commitment to working hard to achieve this.

Quality Ingredients

Ever tried baking a cake with less than quality ingredients – with a dodgy cooker and scales that don’t quite weigh correctly? The chances are your cakes won’t turn out to be as good as you would like them to be. Quality, fit-for-purpose equipment and excellent ingredients are needed to guarantee the bake that you are looking for.

When choosing a university to spend three or more years of their life at, prospective students similarly seek quality – high rankings in the league tables and TEF, good NSS scores, high levels of student satisfaction and committed, highly qualified academics. A quality university is needed to turn out a top-notch, highly qualified and work-ready graduate.

The Recipe

Even quality ingredients can’t ensure a perfect bake if the recipe is wrong. One too many eggs or not enough baking powder and the cake’s a flop.

The same balance needs to be considered within the course that a student selects. The onus is on academics to create a balanced mix of exciting learning content, activities, guest lecturers, trips and course materials to ensure that students learn exactly what they need to know. Miss out a vital ingredient and students will struggle to achieve success in their assessments.

The Temperature

Too hot an oven and your cake will burn. Too cool an oven and your cake won’t rise. Getting the temperature right is as important as having the correct recipe.

Lifelong friendships are made at university, so a good balance between studying and fun is needed. The correct work-play balance creates an environment in which students flourish – without the fun some students struggle with the pressure of study and can be tempted to drop out. Too much fun and grades may suffer. A good university seeks to provide exactly the right balance between social and study. Student Unions, personal tutors, pastoral care and student guidance teams are all there to support students in getting it right.

Decorations

Jam and cream fillings, a sprinkle of icing sugar here, a coating of chocolate there and your cake is more than a cake, it’s a thing of beauty. It’s those finishing touches that make your cake the one that everyone wants to take a bite out of.

Similarly, a degree is not enough. Employers are inundated with graduate applications for advertised vacancies, and applications that stand out are those where the candidate has more than just a degree. Work experience, success in student competitions, self-awareness, confidence, professional presentation, global awareness…these are many of the added extras that lead an employer to choose YOU over other applicants.

Staffordshire University has a recipe for success. A university that has risen to within the top 50 universities in the league tables, been awarded a gold in the TEF, achieved one of the highest graduate employability rates in the UK and provided a supportive and fun environment in which students flourish.

Would you like a taste of our recipe? Come and visit us at one of our Open Days to find out for yourself – we can promise you a delicious time.

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Great places to eat in Stoke on Trent and Newcastle under Lyme

Staffordshire University have a lot of international students and staff from all sorts of cultures. Here are some of the more varied places to try in the Potteries.

Hawasana is based in Shelton and on Stoke Road (the next road over from the College Road campus), they will provide you with authentic Afghan cuisine including huge naans  and cheap food – on facebook  

Miso is a Japanese restaurant on the London Road in Stoke Town Centre. Also in Stoke town further along the London Road is Carmen’s Caribbean Cuisine which is a takeaway.

Hong’s Kitchen -in Newcastle specialises in Hunan pot dishes – plus a lot of stuff you don’t usually see on Chinese menus in the Potteries.

food

A selection of food from Hongs Kicthen

For authentic Polish food try Agie and Katie in Burslem (Agie is a Business School alumni).

Newcastle has two good Thai restaurants – The Blue Chilli (alumni of the Business School) and The Art of Siam  . Also in Newcastle is Patty and Shake which is very popular with a young clientele  and excellent value.

Popular for burgers and curly fries

The best Italian in the area also happens to be in Newcastle Amore  also on facebook. It is very popular during the day for coffee and cakes and a different night time menu.

A delicious plate of pasta from Amore

A delicious plate of pasta from Amore

Try the great pizzas from a clay oven at Klay Pizzeria in Hanley  

For vegetarians try Rawr at either Hanley or Trentham Gardens  also in Hanley is the Slamwich Club . Also at Trentham Gardens Davids Brassiere is very good for bistro/Mediterranean influences.

Finally, if you fancy something traditional try the excellent pies at Pieminster at Trentham Gardens

If you want to find out more on food in the area the following accounts are excellent

Eat Stoke on Instagram   

Staffs food and drink on Instagram

Moorlands Eater website see especially the reviews, facebook, twitter

If you have any recommendations please add them in the comments section.

Interested in tourism and events? Find out about our courses in clearing  

Or call us on 0800 590 830

Five things you didn’t know about Staffordshire Business School!

Written by Rachel Gowers, Associate Dean Recruitment


1.    We are one of the leading Business Schools in the world for Social Media. We’ve won the Edurank ‘Best Twitter Performance’ award twice in the Business School category (beating Harvard into second place) and we’ve also come in the top 20 Business School blogs in the Top 20 Business Education Blogs And Websites To Follow in 2018

2.    Our Marketing Management course includes exemptions from The Chartered Institute of Marketing and also Google Garage Exams, covering SEO, PPC and loads of other practical skills so you can start to build your own digital marketing campaign straight away.

3.    The Events Management Degree is a top ten course* according to The Complete University Guide League Tables 2019. We’ve also added some new modules this year like ‘experiential marketing’ and ‘managing the visitor experience’ which mean you get out and about straight away and start working with companies to design their systems.  You’ll also get to go on an overseas residential in your second year – last year we went to Iceland.


4.   
Business degrees are the same wherever you go – right? Wrong! Our Business Degree covers topics you won’t find anywhere else, we worked with employers to come up with them.  You’ll study Business Agility, Big Data, Authentic leadership and Customer Experience Strategy (CX) – don’t know what these are? Google them – these are vital topics for 21st Century leaders.

5.    Accounting and Finance degrees at Staffordshire Business School offer more than just a degree.  You will also gain exemptions from three professional bodies meaning you can fast-track to professional qualifications when you’ve finished you’re degree. Plus we were ranked 1st for ‘Students Satisfied with Teaching’ in the Guardian League Tables 2018.

As if five wasn’t enough, did you know we are the first Business School in the UK to launch an Esports degree…don’t know what this is? Find out here.

*ranked 7th in the ‘Hospitality, Leisure, Recreation & Tourism’ category

Thinking of joining us? Find out more about our courses in clearing

 

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Exciting news for Esports students at Staffordshire University

Written by Stuart Kosters, Lecturer in Esports at Staffordshire Business School


Staffordshire Business School launches the brand new Esports Hub – a customised esports lab for showcase and learning.

Esports Hub Room

We strive for excellence and have spoken to many esports industries to deliver the very best training; in delivery and presentation.

Computer equipment is top of the range industry standard, featuring tournament level hardware and software, allowing for ease of use and the best in quality assurance.

  • Razer Naga Chroma Professional Grade Ergonomic MMO Gaming Mouse
  • Razer Kraken 7.1 Chroma V2 – Gaming USB Headset and 7.1 Surround Sound with 50 mm Drivers, Retractable Digital Microphone
  • Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2, Linear and Silent Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
  • Razer Goliathus Chroma RGB Gaming Mouse Mat

Stylish graphics surrounding the room showcasing your home of Esports Hub, stems from extensive research and design prototypes, to be unique and current in the world of competitive gaming and learning. This esports lab strives to be one of a kind.

State of the art broadcasting area for your training experience and exhibition pleasure featuring an incredible range of the best equipment from sound editing, to vision mixing and full 360% camera rotations to capture every moment and showcase the very best in esports event exhibitions:

  • 360 degrees camera
  • vision mixing unit
  • soundboard
  • and full streaming training unit

Custom made interview area with a backdrop and modern esports furniture for viewing pleasure allows for extensive use of training in casting and interview skills, building soft skill management and providing the best experiences to share with online and local viewership.

Want to find out more? Visit us on one of our Open Days to have a look around and speak to our expert staff!

Details of our Esports Hub Launch Event on 18 August 2018!

Thinking of joining us? Find out more about our courses in clearing

 

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The World Cup: Sports tourism bringing Nations together?

By Carol Southall, Senior Lecturer, Staffordshire Business School

 

In recent years the phenomenon of sports tourism has grown in popularity, not least because of technological advances facilitating online ticket bookings and confirming event and venue scheduling. Sports tourism is certainly one of the fastest growing sectors of the global travel industry and refers to travelling to another destination, away from where the traveller normally lives and works, in order to observe or participate in a sporting event.

The Russia World Cup 2018 is an opportunity to bring people together from different nations across the world with a common interest…diversity, and of course football! Spread over 1,800 miles from Kaliningrad on the Baltic coast to Ekaterinburg at the foot of the Ural mountains, 12 stadiums across Russia will host the 64 matches that comprise the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, the largest venue and one of the newest, will hold the first game of the tournament on 14 June and also the final, 31 days later. England’s first match against Tunisia on Tuesday 18th June at the purpose-built Volgograd Arena, almost 600 miles south-east of Moscow, is likely to be a key draw for the thousands of football fans heading to Russia.

Covering over 17 million square kilometres, 11 time zones, and with a population of almost 147 million, Russia is the largest country in the World. With over 200 ethnicities and ethnic groups and more than 100 languages and dialects, plus 28 UNESCO World Heritage sites and several thousand museums, Russia is working hard to promote its tourism potential. Interestingly on the Russia Travel website, to which fans applying for a FAN ID are directed when they enquire about tourism opportunities during their stay in Russia, there is a reference to the ‘Miracles of Russia’ in the host towns and cities, and the fact that “all these have nothing to do with the habitual stereotypes of Russia”. This is evidently an ideal opportunity to debunk some myths surrounding perceptions of Russia as a destination.

Red Square, Moscow, Russia

Studies show that major events can be a positive force in bringing nations together and enhancing and strengthening national identity. Whether Russia needs to strengthen its national identity, or indeed which countries need to strengthen their national identity, is a moot point. What is clear is that any such tournament that brings the world together should only serve to strengthen national pride and identity and facilitate an element of cultural understanding.

As a traveller you often find that wherever you are in the world, the common language is football. You may not be able to hold a conversation in a native tongue beyond ‘hello’ and ‘thank-you’ but mention the relative merits of the better-known English football clubs and you can hold a conversation for the duration of a taxi ride.

Clearly participation in football, whether as a player or spectator, plays a major role in social and global cohesion, enhancing social capital. Football creates its own world order, deviating from the hegemonic power relations that characterise world politics. Conversely, the mutual respect and consideration that should be evident in all international sport tourism is sometimes overshadowed by political tensions, causing hostility where there should be empathy and understanding.

Since the selection of the host nation, 8 years ago, political tensions have certainly overshadowed the event. The BBC recently reported that England should wear black armbands during the World Cup to protest against the Russian regime, with a prominent MP suggesting that the FIFA tournament is a massive propaganda coup for Russia. Additionally the violent clashes between English and Russian football hooligans at Euro 2016 have led to concern of a repeat performance at the 2018 World Cup. Russia’s significant investment in the tournament, and the need to avoid any tarnishing of the event, has led to Russian hard-core supporters being contacted by police and officially warned to behave. Similarly local UK supporters have also been warned, and in some cases had their passports confiscated by police for the duration of the tournament.

The role and responsibility of football in the world is significant and its importance in social cohesion and nation building should not be underestimated. Conversely, we should also recognise the power of football to incite violence and xenophobia. Regardless of the political tensions that overshadow the tournament this year, it is hoped that the UK and international sports tourists travelling to Russia on their FAN IDs (a personalised spectator’s card – offering visa-free entry to Russia for supporter’s holding World Cup tickets) will take the opportunity and time to explore, experience and engage with Russia’s culture and people. Only then can there be any hope of the mutual respect and understanding that football has the power to facilitate.

Follow Carol on twitter @cdesouthall

FdA Visitor Attraction and Resort Management


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