11 December, 2007 – Vice-Chancellor says graduate careers are MMU's top priority
Professor John Brooks, vice-chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University, has emphasised employability as his top priority in a recent article in the Times Higher Education Supplement.
Professor Brooks said that teaching and research needed to go hand-in-hand to maximise the career opportunities for our graduates and postgraduates: "In the new knowledge economy it is clear that universities have two distinct but strongly correlated roles: to help to create the new ‘knowledge’ and to help to train the new ‘knowledge workers’.
"Our duty (at MMU) is to ensure that world-class knowledge and ideas, and world-class knowledge workers, are drawn together to fuel Manchester’s re-energised economy. However, we do not support the polarisation of research and strongly encourage research that is of and for our region, and that informs our curriculum.
"This is not a change of direction for Manchester Met but a re-emphasis of the values of a vocationally-focused professional university that views the employability of its graduates and postgraduates as a top priority."
Professor Brooks, who attended last week’s THES Awards where MMU was nominated for ‘Marketing Initiative of the Year’, said that recent change within MMU had centred on growing academic enterprise and developing an ‘enterprise curricula’.
The Vice-Chancellor also used the column to question whether the government was on the right track towards improving higher skills. Referring to the Leitch review which called for greater collaboration on relevant training between universities and employers, he says nonetheless: "I remain unconvinced that there is a fully joined-up approach to skills and higher skills development.
"While the new diplomas will change the balance of 14-19 provision, and new employer-led foundation degrees will fill a perceived gap in provision, do we have confidence that the higher skill needs of the workforce will be identified by the Sector Skills Councils, funded strategically by employers and developed and delivered by universities?
"If Leitch is right, and our future economic performance depends on us getting this right, then I would prefer to see a rather less serendipitous approach emerge."
The article ‘Preparing for a Knowledge Revolution’ appeared in the THES on December 7th.
Source: MMU press release