What a holistic approach to research reveals about the purpose of university education.

Year: 2021

Author: Timpson, Mel

Type of paper: Individual Paper

University education is complex to deliver with many varied constituents with competing incentives. This makes research of university education problematic especially in the commodified context where universities operate as corporate entities more than educational bodies. Most research on university education examines a particular section of university education such as funding (Norton & Cherastidtham, 2018), students (Hil, 2015), or the changing nature of university education (Marginson, 2016). Little attempt has been made to examine university education as a whole. I suggest in my research this is because of the complexities of university education. However, by modelling the process of university education it is possible to draw elements together in a holistic way. This presentation will introduce the model developed to undertake holistic research of university education. I will explain the way the model arose and then summarise how it was applied to identify how the purpose of university education is lost. By examining university education in a holistic manner through this model, I have been able to see patterns across the process of university education and from the different perspectives. By doing this I have empirically demonstrated how the meaning of quality and value have no agreed, ideal meaning from the perspectives of Government, universities and industry. Using a holistic approach to research enabled the key issue of university education to be identified, there is no agreed purpose, which in turns leads to poor delivery outcomes. The model proposed would apply in other types of research for university education where a holistic approach would be useful. It enables researchers to examine the parts of the process of university education and then draw them together to tell the whole story from different perspectives.Hil, R. (2015). Selling students short. Australia: Allen and Unwin.Marginson, S. (2016). Higher education and the common good. Melbourne: Melbourne University Publishing.Norton, A., & Cherastidtham, I. (2018). Mapping Australian higher education 2018. Retrieved from https://grattan.edu.au/report/mapping-australian-higher-education-2018/