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Project Lead:

Dr Fred Creedon (Fred.creedon@mtu.ie)

Project Status

In Progress

Project Lead Home Department:

MTU Cork - Business - Accounting and Information Systems

Alignment to HEA and NFETLHE SATLE 2022-23 Themes

  • Education for Sustainable Development (ESD);

Alignment to MTU Strategy Themes

  • Learner Education & Experience;

Project Description

Business Information Systems is a hybrid discipline that blends knowledge of business and technology and equips students with the skills and knowledge required to develop, manage and use information technology systems and solutions in a variety of business environments.

Motivation for this project comes from recent surveys with BIS students and discussions with secondary school career teachers, which revealed that students often lack awareness of the programme, who they can be and what they can achieve after graduation. We believe a low female: male (24:76) intake ratio is also linked to professional identity, female students may not see themselves as working in IT, despite evidence that female students on average outperform male students in the programme.

Research by Dr Syliva Dempsey reveals that students begin to develop their sense of professional identity when they partake in work placements in year 3, we hope that interventions can accelerate this.

To achieve this objective, the project will follow a design thinking methodology and build on professional identity research, extant literature, and a series of discovery workshop sessions with stakeholders.

The proposed framework of intervention will focus five professional identity attributes, namely; Actions and Behaviour, Knowledge and Skills, Values, Beliefs, and Ethics, Context and Socialization, and Group and Personal Identity (Anita Fitzgerald, Professional Identity in Graduating Nursing Students, Journal of Nursing Education, 2021)

The secondary objective of this project is to align and contribute to MTU's strategic enablers including equality, diversity, and inclusion; Sustainability and UN-SDGs; and collective commitment to a multi-campus technological university. The framework of interventions can help BIS students develop their sense of self, understand what they can achieve in their careers, and build a professional identity that aligns with their values, beliefs, and ethics.

The output of this process will be a co-created framework of interventions that if implemented will contribute to the development of a sense of professional identity for BIS students. This will in turn enable us to attract students who are aligned with the programmeProfessional identity; human-centred design; voice-of-the-student, values-based education, edi based on their personal strengths, values, beliefs, and ethics.

Interventions are likely to include: Strategies for EDI, internationalisation, marketing, co-curricular and extra-curricular experiences, and work placement. Engagement strategies for secondary schools, graduates, industry-based coaching, and employers.

What is the anticipated impact of this project?

The output of the project will be 2 artifacts.

The first is a framework of interventions designed to nurture professional identity for the BIS student.

The interventions are likely to include marketing and promotional plans, school visits, promotion of relevant societies, etc. However, we anticipate that the ideation process will be influenced by what insights synthesised from the stakeholder workshops.

The second artifact to be developed will be the design approach itself. The approach will be designed as an inclusive human-centered approach for identifying interventions that will nurture discipline or programme-specific professional identity. This project will allow for the validation of the approach, and learnings from executing the approach will also be documented and integrated into a revised version of the approach.

Part of the plenary activities will include the development of a stakeholder map. However, the expected primary stakeholders will be: prospective students, current students, and graduates. We also expect secondary stakeholders including academic staff, careers teachers, subject-specific teachers, and parents.

What will the outputs of this project be?

As full ethical approval for the project will be required, the project team plan to start this application asap. If approved, we hope to disseminate the outputs from the project in several ways.

  • Framework of interventions:
    • To be communicated at a departmental level, to both gain feedback and to recruit staff who may be interested in engaging with the interventions. A PDF handbook will be created and shared on MS teams. We will also look for opportunities to share the framework with other departments across various platforms.
  • The project approach:
    • We believe that the project approach itself is exciting and would be useful to other programmes interested in nurturing professional identity. Learnings from the execution of this project will be reflected in a ‘play-book’. We will also look for opportunities to share the framework with other departments and across various forums.
  • Academic research:
    • The design thinking approach is conducive to conducting empirical evidence gathering, and the development of design theories. It is expected that the research will be of interest to the broader information systems discipline, and to teaching and learning research communities. The team will explore potential avenues for academic publishing.

Team Members:

  • Dr Fred Creedon – Accounting & Information Systems
  • Denise McSweeney – Accounting & Information Systems
  • Dr Claire O Sullivan Rochford – Accounting & Information Systems
  • Student Consultants - workshops will include student as consultants on the project to share their thoughts on the programme, their values, beliefs and ethics as well as their personal life and career goals.
  • Other stakeholders as consultants -  professional identity is impacted by stakeholders including, parents, teachers, careers teachers, etc. We will invite relevant stakeholders to workshops who may also be able to contribute their thoughts and beliefs about the programme.

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