Personal development planning and graduate attributes: balancing employability and citizenship
Introduction. Much has been made of students reflecting on their experience in higher education through personal development planning (PDP) and the acquisition and documenting of graduate attributes (GAs). This has become translated into curricular and pedagogical developments that are related to constructivist or enquiry-based learning. It is suggested that such an approach is necessary given the need for creativity and flexibility demanded by a globalised knowledge economy. The Aim of the Study. This paper considers this discourse of acquired GAs within broader sociological theorisations of the relationship between employability and citizenship. It is now the individual who is expected to reflexively engage in the process of their own development of GAs within the context of their educational studies. Materials and Methods. A review of recent empirical and conceptual work in relation to PDP and GAs in higher education is undertaken to elucidate the discourses that have been brought into play to underpin these initiatives, with particular reference to the U.K. Results. The results are framed in terms of the ideological issues emerging from the review of studies. These are posited in terms of tensions between the personal and socio-political aspects of PDP and GA on the one hand, and the employability versus citizenship dimension on the other. Conclusion. Whilst this apparently student-centred approach may on the face of it appear liberating and productive of independent, adaptable and flexible graduates, it is nevertheless argued that this is deeply ideological in promoting more of connection between education and the knowledge economy. This attributes GAs as the engine of this economy located within the agency of the individual. What is also required is an equal focus on the notion of citizenship.