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ECPR Futures Lab 2020

The Policy Commission: Bringing Students, Researchers and Practitioners Together to Learn

Local Government
Higher Education
Chris Goldsmith
De Montfort University
Chris Goldsmith
De Montfort University

In the twenty-first century Higher Education is increasingly required to be engaged with the "real" world of practice. Students are expected to be ready for employment as soon as they graduate; researchers in the social sciences are under pressure to produce policy-relevant research that has an impact of the world of practitioners. Practitioners themselves are encouraged to engage with academia in order to engage with the latest research and to continue their professional development. These three domains all have their different logics and rules and different ideas about the goals and purposes of learning. This paper will examine the experience of students and staff at De Montfort University in a evolving pedagogical experiment: The DMU Policy Commission. The Policy Commission brings staff, students and practitioners together to work on a current issue of shared interest and concern with the goal of producing a policy report for the practitioners. This module challenges the usual hierarchies of the classroom and traditional approaches to learning. The paper will analyse how ideas about learning can be reconstructed in this context as well as discussing some of the challenges that such innovative approaches can throw up for all the participating groups.
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