1. What is the understanding that the Economics department has of academic literacy?
Similarly to the Biological Sciences department, the Economics department’s understanding of academic literacy is focused on the preparation of students to entry into a diverse range of careers including accountancy, banking, insurance, finance, industry, commerce, teaching and the civil service. This implies that it is focused on employability and transferable skills.
a.) How are students conceptualized/ envisioned within this understanding?
Based on the above understanding, there is evidence on the website that the Economics department conceptualizes its students as both capable producers and beneficiaries to the curriculum at the department. An example of the ‘capable producers’ perception that the department has, is the EC331 Research in Applied Economics module that involves a much more student–centred learning process. As a corollary, the staff are not there to answer every query. The lecture component is much smaller and somewhat less important, and the seminar component is more important. Each student must make four presentations: a brief outline of the planned research, a review of relevant literature, a presentation of the data/theory, and a presentation of the final draft. Students are also expected to contribute to discussion of each others’ presentations.
2. What does the Economics department define as its disciplinary skills?
The economics department defines important disciplinary skills such as modern economic analysis, appropriate analytical and quantitative techniques, problem-solving aptitude, and skill in the use of statistical methods and computing.
a.) Does the Economics department define these skills as generic?
Some of the skills above are seen as generic skills as well. These include analytical and quantitative abilities, problem-solving aptitude, and skill in the use of statistical methods and computing, which the department claims as widely recognised by the major employers and places graduates at an advantage in the job market.
b.) In what format is academic literacy claimed to be developed?
Academic literacy at the department is mainly developed through the various assessment methods. These include research projects, in-class presentations, essays, examinations. The department also describes the seminar components as important for students in developing the necessary skills especially in student-centred learning modules such as RAE.