The working student on campus: an investigation into working students’ attitudes and motivations towards their employment on campus and the impacts upon their learning habits

Millard, Luke (2019) The working student on campus: an investigation into working students’ attitudes and motivations towards their employment on campus and the impacts upon their learning habits. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

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This thesis explores the impact on students of one of the UK’s first university wide student ‘jobs on campus’ programmes. It considers what motivates students to work on campus, the skills they develop as a result and the impact it has on their attitudes and approaches to learning.
These outcomes have been recorded at Universities in the USA where tuition fees and student employment programmes on campus have been in place for many years. However, the phenomenon of tuition fees is relatively new in the UK and students and universities are finding ways to address the implications. The majority of students who attend Universities in the UK take up paid employment alongside their studies in order to finance their student life (NASES and NUS 2012). For many this will be off-campus employment which has been shown through studies to have a negative impact on student success (Astin,1993). However, a positive effect has been recorded for those students who work on campus where a supportive and more flexible working environment is conducive to student learning (Pascarella and Terenzini, 2005).
This thesis contributes to sectoral knowledge as very few studies of this approach have taken place in the UK and it will help inform organisations or individuals seeking to embrace this new type of offer for students. The findings add to the body of evidence and enable comparison with research in this area from around the world (Zlotkowski et al, 2006; Perna, 2010; Simòn et al, 2017).
This thesis takes a mixed methods approach and used a case study methodology as the research sought to investigate the real-life impact on students of working on campus on their learning habits and attitudes to study. The study involved a qualitative survey of 153 students drawn from across Birmingham City University who were in paid roles on campus. This was followed up by three focus groups with students to enable some of the survey findings to be further explored.
The results indicate that working on campus has beneficial impacts on student attitudes to the University and their skills development. The key findings are that students exhibit significant improvements in confidence; a variety of skills are enhanced; there is a positive change in the nature of relationships with University staff; and students state they are more motivated to succeed in their academic careers. Therefore, this thesis suggests that student employment programmes on campus can have a positive impact on student learning. In particular, a targeted use of such a job on campus might be beneficial, especially for those students who are classified as being as more at risk of failure. The enhancing of student confidence and the provision of new supportive staff and student networks could strengthen student resilience and support retention activities.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
January 2019Completed
Uncontrolled Keywords: Students, Colleagues, Work, Campus
Subjects: CAH22 - education and teaching > CAH22-01 - education and teaching > CAH22-01-01 - education
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Doris Riou
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2020 14:47
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 17:23

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