Special issue


This Special Issue engages with the concept of ‘graduateness’ across Higher Education by looking at the skills, attributes, literacies, capabilities, and capacities we seek to foster and develop amongst those whom we teach. This discussion ranges from papers on pre-entry, through transition-in and undergraduate student skill enhancement, to developing academic colleagues’ teaching proficiencies and innovation in curricula. The challenge faced by contributing authors was to conceptualise the development of their students’ capabilities and capacities in the broadest and most practical senses. In the context of the global response of Higher Education to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has dramatically impacted the rate of change in teaching practice within institutions, but often without time, distance, and space for critical reflection, we provide space though a process of considered analysis and evaluation of practices, to consider what has worked, what has not worked, and what would benefit us to take forward. In so doing, we highlight several key themes that emerge: graduateness and employability; literacies and skills; access for all; and curricula design for skills development.

Practitioner Notes

  1. Space for innovation is key in enabling the creation of both centralised and embedded provision that will increase our students’ capacities.
  2. Curricula (re)design is an essential tool in enabling student success, and it must be conducted within frameworks that promote the articulation of attributes and capacities. These (re)designs should be guided and led by those proficient in pedagogical innovation and change.
  3. The positionality of Learning and Researcher Developers, and other professional services staff, can often present challenges within the institution, but also affords a unique perspective and opportunity to lead and innovate within the discussion of graduateness and employability.
  4. The skills, literacies, and capacities with which we leave our students at the end of their time with us should prepare them to continue in their development beyond university.
  5. To ensure that all students get the opportunity to develop these capacities during their time at university, it is crucial to remain aware of widening participation issues, the extent to which some tools and methods can exclude as well as enable access, and to take a holistic approach to adding capacity at every level.