Engaged scholarship: an integrated and participative approach to student employability

Anne M.J. Smith, Ruby Lawerence

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

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Our world of work is more complex than before, and our communities face dynamic challenges that are unpredictable and unprecedented (Guinan and O'Neill, 2019). Preparing graduates for such uncharted futures in multifaceted workplaces (Knight and Yorke, 2003) requires an approach that is not only innovative and sustainable but we argue, integrated, participative, and inclusive (Smith, Jones, Scott and Stadler, 2017). Our case study shines a light on engaged scholarship, an approach harnessed at Glasgow Caledonian University’s School for Business and Society, involving participative research through experiential learning (Lave, and Wenger, 1991). Participatory tri-stakeholder relationships between academic, students and community are powerful ways for all parties to learn from each other whilst collaboratively seeking impactful solutions through social justice and citizenship (Van de Ven, 2018); we organise interdisciplinary student groups that collaboratively tackle some of the most complex community challenges identified by those communities. Subsequently, the assembled Vygotskyian classroom is a life space enabling supported cognitive and non-cognitive skills development (Vygotsky, 1978; Lewin, 1997). We will discuss the approach, exploring how it positively contributes to the employability of students. We define employability as ‘a set of achievements - skills, understandings and personal attributes - that make individuals more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations, which benefits themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy’ (Yorke, 2006, p. 8). Van de Ven (2007) considers engaged scholarship as a participatory approach to research and we adopt the principles to guide our practice of engaged scholarship involving communities, students, and academics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Case Study Compendium: Contemporary Practices and Initiatives in Employability
EditorsStuart Norton , Maria Romero-González
PublisherAdvance HE
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2023


  • employability skills
  • professional practice
  • business and management


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