Key Issues from the June 2010 Team Meeting
Stockholm: Undertaken a lot of staff interviews. Also started interviewing at the Royal Institute of Technology. Analysed 24 interviews so far.
Maynooth: Student interviews are going ok. Starting to analyse and theorise the data. Need to engage with literature about the hidden and silent stories, for example, Belenky. Importance of current national debates involving grade inflation, a move to re-introduce fees and re-structure HE. Fairly large numbers of students identified with a disability, learning difficulties or mental health problems.
Goettingen: nearly completed all student interviews at Goettingen, Hagen and Kassel. Just follow-up interviews to do. The second and third interviews show that transition and transformation are taking place with students. Developed 2 theoretical concepts: sociological combined with transitional space and Becher’s academic tribes.
Wroclaw: Nearly completed all interviews. Invited to speak at a seminar at the Ministry who are now talking about mass HE.
Canterbury: Undertaken 27 staff interviews 95 student interviews. Now doing the cycle of second interviews. Interviews are revealing sensitive issues.
Warwick: Rennie Johnston decided to retire from work and has been replaced by Paul Armstrong. Still some student and staff interviews to complete at all 3 institutions. Class is a key emerging issue, particularly amongst students at the elite university (Warwick). Also mental health issues seem to be increasing amongst students (the perception of staff).
Seville: Recently just completed another 20 interviews and have started to carry out an internal comparison of data. Exploring the possibility of holding a national seminar with other Spanish universities. Have written a paper on the difficulty of getting access to drop-outs but are not giving up on finding them. Have got a lot of stories of 'nearly dropping-out'.
Need to start identifying the themes and headings for the report workpages on the student interview findings. Discussed a conceptual model – Idea to link Bourdieu and Winnicott. Idea of transitional space as a study space. Need to look at students experiences of support and risk factors which may come from their family past or the institution. Also to look at transition as a symbolic space.
In analysing the interviews we need to look at:
- The sociological and psychological. Comparing cases – similarities and difference
- Theoretical coding
There is an issue of ethics and confidentiality in relation to the staff data. Lecturer report – agreement that this needs to be about the role of being a lecturer and discuss the differences:
- Division of labour
- Dilemma about 'what knowledge?'
- Ways that staff may project onto students their way of learning
- New roles of lectures and the role of managerialism
- Role of the individual in the institution
Recession: Implications for HE
A discussion was held about the impact of recession upon HE. Issues of cuts in staff, lecturer's salaries as well as economic aspects of the crisis for the students was discussed.
On the whole the internal evaluation was very positive. Partners feel that the team works democratically. Suggestions for improving the way we work were also made, for example, responding to emails more quickly in-between meetings.
Policy Issues: WP 14
Discussion held about the format and content of the policy leaflet. Suggestion to start the leaflet with a student quote. Include a link to the website on the leaflet. Agreed to go for one leaflet for both lecturers and policy makers.
Agreed to arrange the conference around the key issues and questions on:
- Methodology (generating narrative interviews, representation of lives, analysing data)
- Research data
- Need to focus on contentious issues
Date agreed as 7 & 8 April 2011 in Seville