Senior management perspectives of mathematics and statistics support in higher education: moving to an ‘ecological’ approach

Mackenzie, Helen, Tolley, Harry, Croft, Tony, Grove, Michael and Lawson, Duncan (2016) Senior management perspectives of mathematics and statistics support in higher education: moving to an ‘ecological’ approach. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 38 (5). pp. 550-561. ISSN 1360-080X

NU0003.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (282kB) | Preview


This article explores the perspectives of three senior managers in higher education institutions in England regarding their mathematics and statistics support provision. It does so by means of a qualitative case study that draws upon the writing of Ronald Barnett about the identity of an ‘ecological’ university, along with metaphors associated with the notion of organisations as living ‘organisms’, suggested by Gareth Morgan. Using these ideas as a heuristic sheds light upon the view that whilst outwardly universities appear to represent a uniform landscape, mathematics and statistics support alternatively, can be seen as different ‘species’ within the higher education system. The study illustrates how three universities occupying contrasting ecological ‘niches’ are responding to the challenges they face by providing and planning different forms of learning support for mathematics and statistics. In conclusion, it is recommended that senior managers reflect upon the possibilities offered by the idea of ‘ecological’ identities in order to explore how they might respond strategically to a rapidly changing environment. This includes adapting various solutions and the further development of innovative ways of supporting students’ transitions throughout the academic lifecycle. In addition, an ecological approach could also aid the formation of the co-creational relationships and networks required for the future success of those developments.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The Version of Record of this manuscript has been published and is available in Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 19 June 2016 doi:10.1080/1360080X.2016.1196932.
Divisions: Directorate > PVC Formative Education
Depositing User: Jane Faux
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2016 11:35
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2018 11:19

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item