During 2014 the University of Divinity participated in a research project conducted into Graduate Employability. Three universities and a professional body participated, with Associate Professor Shelly Kinash of Bond University interviewing students and staff at the University.
The website relating to this study can be accessed here.
A broad summary is that Private Higher Education does well. The report begins with this summary:
This research indicated that compared to publicly funded institutions, private institutions tend to be more focused on the employability of their graduates. They tend to have strong relationships with the key employers of their graduates, and will often structure their programs to meet the needs of those employers, particularly those who hire the most graduates. As one educator stated, “most theological colleges live and die on the quality of the links with employers.” Stakeholder surveys, invitations to events and conferences, feedback and involvement in course design are all ways in which employers become involved.
With further particular reference to theological colleges, the report states:
“Employability through theological institutions is unique because many are not only preparing their students for ministry, but also for a much broader range of careers such as cross-cultural work with churches and mission organisations. A different set of employability skills is required here. Life experience prior to undertaking the program is essential in most cases and a broad range of intentional, institutionally supported programs are offered, including an overseas cross cultural field education unit at one college. The notion of character development as an important element in these programs is clear in this case study.
“In the current debates about university funding, this adds weight, as does the recent Quality Indicators in Learning and Teaching report (http://www.qilt.edu.au/) that private higher education, including theological education, has a demonstrable social value, is achieving quality outcomes, and should be taken seriously.”
We are grateful to the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching for funding this and other valuable research.
The case study relating to private institutions can be accessed here.