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British Academy of Management (External organisation)

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White Paper: Innovating Learning and Teaching for Excellence in Management

This BAM White Paper, ‘Innovating Teaching and Learning for Excellence in Management’, emerges from research supported by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and carried out by the British Academy of Management (BAM) in July 2015. Drawing on the findings from focus groups involving forty-two active management scholars from across the UK High Education sector, we identify the challenges, future needs, limitations of current learning and teaching provision as understood by our Academy’s members. This paper also identifies important actions that can be taken by our community of business and management academics to connected learned societies, scholars, practitioners and policy-makers that support the innovation of learning and teaching to prepare our next generation of managers as productive and effective operators. These actions are:  Reconfigure the working relationships between institutions that have an interest in management education to offer new forms of management education, and new places and spaces where continuous management learning and education can prosper.  Create opportunities for team-based and co-ordinated education programmes that enrol businesses and professional bodies into the educational experience.  Recognise and reward management educators that develop innovative materials and practices to support excellent learning and teaching, and enrol others in these practices.  Develop capacity building programmes for MKE that foster and circulate best practice.  Support and fund MKE scholarship and pedagogical development.  Develop frameworks that support the evaluation of management education and recognise the structuring specificities and diversity of the different disciplines within the management field.  Develop league tables and rankings that perform the market for Higher Education in ways that develop managers with the skills and capabilities to manage in uncertain and dynamic socio-economic landscapes for productive futures. BAM’s vision is ‘to be a pluralistic learned society, contributing to the development of management knowledge and practice internationally’. BAM sees the field of management as a community of scholars and practitioners that carry out a wide variety of research and practice. As a learned society we aim to embrace, foster and celebrate the broad range of social and scientific understandings of both what counts as knowledge and the forms of scholarship and practice that generate the production of applied, impactful management knowledge and knowing. This plurality of scholarship includes the development of conceptualisations and measurements of phenomena and practices that underpin testable models of management and organisation. It also encompasses fine-grained anthropological studies of management, organisation and market practices that encourage the development of critical thinking, flexibility and reflexivity in managers. By embracing these varied forms of management knowledge and knowing in the education of managers, we will be in a better position to both equip managers with analytical tools and techniques to support effective decision making, as well as developing the skills of inquiry and reflexivity needed to explore the particularities of each unique and unfolding situation. This plurality, together with the particular demands on Management Education is increasingly requiring management scholars to innovate learning and teaching for excellence in management. Our community is dealing with growing class sizes, rapidly changing technologies and business environments and growing demands from students to experience the application and practice of management theories before they leave formal programmes of management education. These demands offer new challenges as well as many opportunities. But such opportunities to innovate learning and teaching for excellence in management cannot be leveraged by management scholars alone. This White Paper is a call for more joined-up thinking and action across different forms of expertise and institutions in order to produce excellence in management. Our findings suggest that we need increased connections and co-ordination between our learned societies, professional bodies, academic and educational institutions, policy-makers and practitioners. By increasing these connections we stand to generate new ways of thinking about management as a social science, new understandings of how to engineer and configure safe places and spaces for educating managers, enabling experimentation and reflection on and the transformation of practice. Such an agenda requires significant changes in the way institutions, educators and policy-maker interact, frame their expectations of each other, collaborate and co-ordinate their activities. This White Paper is published in the context of the UK Government’s development and introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and the ‘Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice’ Green Paper. The Government is consulting over the development and introduction of TEF which sets out to achieve three important aims: 1) to ensure that students get value for money when they pay for their education, 2) to ensure the introduction of a Teaching Excellence Framework that can evaluate teaching quality and excellence, and 3) to ensure that education is accessible to all and is a device to boost social mobility. While the aims behind TEF are laudable, great care is needed to ensure that the devices developed for such evaluation are not blunt instruments. Much thought should be given to who should be equipped with what kind of evaluative devices and why. As it stands, the Green Paper includes many contradictions. One such concern relates to the suggestion that student satisfaction and interest should be at the centre of TEF, which in turn will used to set the ‘price’ charged for a programme of study. While it is not yet clear if or how National Student Survey (NSS) data will form part of the TEF evaluation (see 12:19-21), including it could incentivise poor teaching scores, which would keep the price of programmes down. Similarly, the Green Paper links the TEF to the Government’s ‘productivity challenge’ (10:5) arguing that increasing the quality of teaching will generate a more productive society. While the productivity agenda assumes the interest of the collective – a logic that puts a thriving marketized, tax-paying, social-economy at the heart of any return on investment, the structuring of a market for Higher Education using the logic of demand to determine ‘price’ is contradictory. Structuring the HE sector as a free-market based on the price of programmes would mean subsequent earnings generated by students are seen as individual rents generated as a consequence of their own investment. Thereby, both ignoring wider societal benefits (and costs) and recognition of Higher Education as a public good. Indeed, the meaning of ‘price’ becomes increasingly unclear when education remains free at the point of delivery. We argue that the cost of education might better be described as a student loan or a tax and as a contribution to a social good. Arguing otherwise is likely to deceive students rather than generate transparency the Green Paper calls for and hinder teaching quality. One further concern in the TEF landscape, captured in the Higher Education and Research Bill 2016-17 , is the emergent divide in research and teaching. At a time when many universities are beginning to develop a more balanced and coherent approach between this vital aspects of management education the Bill proposes to transform HEFCE into an Office for Students, and in so doing removes all research elements from HEFCE’s role. The restructuring of government departments sees Higher Education going in with the Department for Education, while responsibility for science and research staying with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the successor to BIS entrenches this divide. This seems a move against the holistic notions of scholarship that see research and teaching as interconnected and central scholarly practices. How TEF emerges from the legislative process remains to be seen but this report contains evidence from Management scholars that ought to be taken into account when developing a liberal governmental framework that provides multiple modes of calculations in assessing and celebrating the plurality of innovative learning and teaching for management excellence. Katy Mason Vice Chair of Management Knowledge and Education at the British Academy of Management  

External organisation (Funding body)

NameBritish Academy of Management