Psychology Education Board: Annual Review 2011

The Psychology Education Board has been moving forward during 2011 by:

  • acting in response to the recommendations in the BPS/HEA/AHPD 'Future of Undergraduate Psychology' report;
  • promoting psychological science;
  • rewarding excellence through awarding prizes.

One of the Board’s projects in 2011 was to commission a new longitudinal survey of employment destinations following graduation with a psychology degree, as one of the responses to the recommendations of the BPS/HEA/AHPD report. It has long been recognised that the data provided by HESA on graduate employment is unsatisfactory, since it only reports a snapshot of employment status six months after graduation. Our new study will aim to capture data from psychology graduates at various points in their careers, continuing for up to seven years from the point of graduation.

It is hoped that this will provide a more accurate picture in terms of graduate employment destinations, for example the range of sectors in which psychology graduates go on to work and for which employers. Not only will this information help us in the development of materials to promote the value of taking psychological qualifications, but will also allow us to more accurately target employers and government to promote the usefulness and value of psychology graduates. Thus far, the project has recruited 134 graduates directly to take part in the study and enlisted 23 Higher Education Institutions as partners, but would like to expand this sample size and will continue to work with Higher Education Institutions. We are confident that we will be able to collect enough data for the study to produce meaningful results.

The Graduate Destinations survey is just one project that is delivering under the recommendations of the Future of Undergraduate Psychology in the UK report. 

Other initiatives, which the Psychology Education Board has approved, come under the general priority area of promoting psychology as a science. The first is the development of an HE psychology education online resource hub, and of the ‘Origins, evolution and impact of psychological science’ website and exhibition, in conjunction with the History of Psychology Centre and the History & Philosophy of Psychology Section. Finally the Psychology Education Board has supported a busy events programme, including exhibition stands at the Association of Science Education Conference, the British Science Association Festival of Science and the Association of Teachers of Psychology. Building on the successes of 2011, the Board has approved a broader events programme for 2012.

The Psychology Education Board has also awarded its inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award. This new award for 2011 celebrates an unusually significant and sustained contribution to the field of psychology education. The Board also awarded the Excellence in Psychology Education Award, 106 Undergraduate Awards and 7 A Level and Scottish Highers Awards.

The Standing Committee on Pre-tertiary Education (SCOPTE) of PEB has expanded its portfolio of offerings at the Annual Conference, presenting successful roundtables on inspiring teaching and psychology teacher qualifications in Scotland. With the status of pre-tertiary psychology in flux under the current government, the Psychology Education Board has approved a two-day conference to look at the future of pre-tertiary psychology to take place in 2012. The meeting will concentrate particularly on issues around curriculum and will help ensure the Society can take a proactive stance on influencing policy development in this area.

2011 saw a change of designation in the Student Members’ Group (SMG), from a member network of the Society to a Standing Committee of the Psychology Education Board. The Student Group Committee met in 2011 and identified their priorities for their term. The Committee is looking to build on the work of the SMG to support a successful Student Conference. The 2011 Student Conference in Glasgow was a great success, with eminent keynotes and a strong attendance. The Student Reps network has grown during 2011, and we now boast over 100 student reps in 65 institutions across the UK. 

A number of initiatives launched in 2011, such as the Academic Departmental Liaison Scheme, will hopefully help us to reach our target of at least one rep in every department which offers an accredited undergraduate programme.

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