HERG Seminar topics for July 15, 2016

HERG seminar on Friday, July 15, 2016
Ponderosa Commons Oak House, room 1011 (please note this is a room change)
Noon to 3:00pm

Dr. Judith Walker, Assistant Professor, Educational Studies

“Fracking” and “refining” Canada’s higher education system: examining trends of vocationalisation and stratification

Canada has embarked on a project of vocationalising and stratifying its higher education system. The metaphor of resource extraction works well for examining these changes, not in small part because both federal and provincial governments have pursued a type of “extraction education” for an “extraction economy.” Fracking is evidenced by the fracturing of the humanities, the injection of money into programmes associated with LNG and oil industries, and the breaking down of the existing system to create higher status institutions, such as converting community colleges into universities. Refining is seen in increasingly prestigious and competitive grants and scholarships to develop Canada’s budding and existing intellectual and scientific elite, and also in the refining of institutions and funding to become more responsive to labour market needs.  In this talk, I will speak to the trends of vocationalisation and stratification in Canadian higher education, will further theorise “extraction education” in the context of British Columbia, and will speculate on what the future may hold.

Ashley Pullman, PhD Candidate, Educational Studies

Troubling perceptions of educational advantage: A life course study in the efficacy of higher education

Postsecondary education (PSE) is often framed as a means to produce high-skilled individuals, a benefit that extends not only to graduates themselves in securing high-paying and high-quality employment but overall economic advancement for society. Often asserting the value of PSE as if it is universally accepted, government and research rhetoric explicitly and/or implicitly promotes the efficacy of postsecondary education. Yet assumptions surrounding the efficacy of PSE cannot be taken for granted, especially as prior research on beliefs towards education have highlighted how individual value systems differ and change over time. The following paper examines how “PSE efficacy” beliefs—that is, the extent to which PSE is deemed necessary “for a successful future”—differ between individuals in relation to demographic factors and changes over time in response to labour market attachment and skill use within employment. The following presentation will discuss four aspects of my research on this subject: First, I will explore prior research and theory on the interplay between education and beliefs. Next, I will present the possibilities, limitations and assumptions of studying beliefs and values through growth analysis, a quantitative modeling approach used within longitudinal research. Third, I will discuss the data set employed and the composite measures constructed. Finally, I will present my research findings and elicit feedback.

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