The communication patterns between universities and businesses can greatly vary, yet in many cases they tend to be rather fragmented, often taking place at the executive level. Generally, the role of employers is limited to providing feedback on the content of academic programmes, rather than engaging in more day-to-day pedagogic practices, such as students assessment or student progress evaluation. Lack of more structural penetration of the business world into teaching and learning process might create knowledge gaps for graduates in practice. To address these issues, The Armenian National Centre for Professional Education Quality Assurance (ANQA) is piloting a new model to enhance the communication patterns between universities and employers through a specifically designed framework.
The framework aims to introduce and embed contextual elements from the employers’ recurrent operational and cultural environment into the academic settings of the university. It involves finding “understandable language” for communication with employers, contextualization of assessment activities and student progress monitoring practices. More precisely, the framework revolves around the major products offered by the employers, such as physical goods, services, expertise, and their specific requirements. The employers reflect on the entire product life cycle and the professional thinking necessary to perform the required duties, highlighting the level of responsibility of employees while performing the tasks. ANQA communication model suggests continuous contact between employers and academics with regards to learning outcomes of the course and its assessment practices based on the elements of the framework.
The model was successfully piloted within the TEMPUS ARARAT project in the IT, law, and pedagogy sectors. Furthermore, it was elaborated within the scope of the TEMPUS ALIGN project for the translation business following ANQA’s initiative. Business focus group discussions were held with high-, middle-level management and staff with three years of work experience. The results of the process served as a basis for the talks with responsible academic programmes and teaching staff. This example of university-employer cooperation was presented during the 12th European Quality Assurance Forum in Riga, Latvia, on 24 November 2017. The mechanism will be applied to different sectors and become a tool for the development of field committees, involving both business and university representatives.
The material for this blog article was provided by our partner organization ENQA