From Politics Past to Politics Future: Addressing the Employability Agenda through a Professional Politics Curriculum

Matthew Wyman, Jennifer Lees-Marshment, Jon Herbert

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Recent studies of political education in UK universities largely focus on teaching methods, and advocate various admirable changes in approach. These can be summed up as more deep learning, more focus on what students do rather than what teachers do, and assessment diversification for skills development (for example, Stammers, Dittmar and Henney, 1999; Sloam, 2008). It is striking, though, that curriculum content as a whole has received little attention. Facing rising student numbers and falling units of resource, a deafening silence has settled around an unsatisfactory status quo. Most, although not all, UK curricula look today much like they did two or three decades ago. For understandable reasons, the Politics and International Relations benchmark statement (QAA, 2007) is primarily a codification of existing practice rather than a challenge to development. This Chapter suggests that there is an important opportunity to reform curricula to reflect a new set of priorities. A combination of Political Science research and professionalization literature could be used more systematically to prepare our students for a range of government, public sector, media and third sector jobs. At the very least a more practically-oriented degree could support student interest in topical and applied politics, thereby capturing student interest when it is most passionate. At best it might help society by developing appropriately trained professionals who can engage at the level of applying academic research. Drawing on our own teaching experiences, this article explains the rationale for change, makes suggestions for underlying principles, and then proposes ideas about how the twenty-first-century Politics degree might look if it were designed from scratch, with the hope of opening a new debate on what Politics we teach as well as how we teach it.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTeaching Politics and International Relations
    EditorsCathy Gormley-Heenan, Simon Lightfoot
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
    Number of pages19
    ISBN (Electronic)9781137003560
    ISBN (Print)9780230300019, 9781137003393
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2012

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Social Sciences


    Dive into the research topics of 'From Politics Past to Politics Future: Addressing the Employability Agenda through a Professional Politics Curriculum'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this