Craig, John (2007) New ways of being public: trhe experience of foundation degrees. In: Teaching in Public - the Future of Higher Education?, 21 to 23 November 2007, Cardiff, UK. (Unpublished)

This paper explores the recent development of new spheres of public engagement within UK higher education through an analysis of the Foundation Degree qualification. This was introduced in 2001 to equip "students with the combination of technical skills, academic knowledge, and transferable skills that employers are increasingly demanding" (HEFCE 2000) and has been identified as being at the forefront of educational agendas aimed at increasing employer engagement in the HE sector. As such, it might be regarded as an expression of the 'increasing privatisation' of higher education. However, this paper argues that, to the contrary, it has enabled the development of new areas of public engagement relating to the design and delivery of courses as well as providing new opportunities for the pursuit of public goods such as widening participation. Such outcomes, it is argued, are the result of a particular configuration of factors that nurture the 'publicness' of the qualification and which should be sustained to ensure the implementation of the Leitch Report (2006) in a manner that further develops public engagement.

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