Beyond disciplines: Can design approaches be used to develop education for jobs that don't yet exist?

Mark Bailey, Alison Pearce, Nick Spencer, Katja Mihelic, Brian Harney, Katarzyna Dziewanowska

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At a time when the role and purpose of universities is increasingly being questioned; when modes of study are increasingly varied; when higher education has become increasingly marketised; when large employers are declaring that a degree will no longer be a pre-requisite for hiring and when the disciplines are changing rapidly, disappearing altogether, or new ones emerging, how can we determine what we should teach in the future and how it should be taught? In such a climate, can universities continue to conform to old constructs of discipline, or are we entering a new era where skill, competency and attitude play a more significant role when employability is the goal? If this is the case, what can we learn from the pedagogies of art and design education that might be of value more broadly?

In this paper the authors reveal the design, development and delivery of a pilot study exploring the potential of adopting a co-creative design-led approach to designing education beyond disciplines. The key protagonists were a cohort of post-graduate students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds studying innovation working with a number of multidiscipline academics and researchers. The paper describes how the academics and researchers drew together relevant literature and adopted a design-led approach to design the pilot project. It then goes on to detail how the pilot project ran and what the cohort created. Further it evaluates the effectiveness of the pilot in revealing useful knowledge for the development of new higher education programmes. Finally, it concludes by identifying how the pilot will inform a subsequent suite of follow-up projects to be repeated at a number of different universities in mainland Europe and South Korea.

The research has been conducted as part of an EU Horizon 2020 Framework, Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Actions, RISE grant project. The project is entitled Global Entrepreneurial Talent Management 3, GETM3. This international project, involving 8 partner universities and multiple employer partners in 5 countries ‘in transition’ in Western and Eastern Europe, and South Korea, is working with three stakeholder groups: Students and Graduates (future employees); Employers (future wealth creators) and Higher Education Institutions (educators of the future) to explore the role of higher education in narrowing the gap between the expectations of employers and those of entrepreneurial recent-graduate employees. In the case of the pilot study described in this paper, this question is being addressed through generative research around the question “how should universities prepare graduates for jobs that don’t even exist yet?” The outcomes of this work and the subsequent follow-on projects will inform the overall findings of the GETM3 programme.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDS 93: Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2018)
EditorsErik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Peter Childs, Stephen Green, Ashley Hall, Aran Dasan
PublisherThe Design Society
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781912254026
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2018
Duration: 6 Sept 2018 → …


Abbreviated titleEPDE
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period6/09/18 → …
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