Student Consumers

This week I gave a presentation at the ISMO conference at Greenwich University which was based in part on a previous blog article which questioned how we needed to treat degree courses still as transformational, when students are increasingly expected to be consumerist in their approaches.

The slides are here:

After a look at Newman and then Collini, I started with the work of O’Byrne and Bond (Darren O’Byrne and Christopher Bond (2014): Back to the future: the idea of a university revisited, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 2014, Vol. 36, No. 6, 571–584) who considered three paradigms that operate in HE – the academic, managerial and consumerist.


I then considered ow we could use a new pedagogy, appropriate use of technology, a subverted interpretation of graduate attributes and a rethinking of leadership to provide a way of satisfying the challenges arsing from the three paradigms.


The neoliberal, capitalist view of HE is not going to go away any time soon. Universities will still continue to recruit students who try to measure them on simple metrics such as student experience and employment 6 months after graduation. However, universities do themselves a disservice if they choose to respond to student demands in such a simplistic way.

Through the appropriate use of pedagogy, through implementation of the right technology solutions, through a revised approach to expressing the nature of graduate attributes, and through having university leadership models that enable greater participation in decision making and engagement, we will be able to show that higher education is more than a passport to employment and is still transformational.