These criteria have been revised following comments on the draft criteria here.
Each has 3 parts:
- A broad principle based criterion to avoid being too prescriptive and limiting on innovation and practice;
- The rationale for the choice; and
- Some illustrations of what the application of the criterion might mean both in terms of what we might expect to see (✔ ) and not to see (×). We hope this serves to better explain the criterion in practice.
We would expect some sort of body, with diverse representation, to make final assessments based on submitted evidence by departments seeking accreditation. We will be exploring further with stakeholders how this might work in further stages of the development of the scheme.
A. Diversity of disciplinary perspectives
1. The existence and potential value of a range of different perspectives from economics and other disciplines for understanding economic related issues are recognised.
Rationale: This will ensure recognition of the value of a pluralist approach to understanding the economy.
✔ This pluralist and interdisciplinary perspective is explicitly set out as the context for the programme
✔ Reading lists include authors from different schools of thought in economics and from other disciplines.
× All approaches to understanding economic related issues are treated as equally valid in all circumstances (ie “anything goes”).
× The term ‘economics’ is used as if there was a unified single methodological approach to understanding economic related issues.
2. A reasonable breadth of perspectives are incorporated into the curriculum and their implications for economic analysis and decision-making (with an expectation of at least three such perspectives).
Rationale: This will ensure pluralism is genuine and not tokenistic.
✔ Perspectives covered include equilibrium and non-equilibrium approaches, individualist and social assumptions and different ethical perspectives.
× All perspectives covered focus on individual decision making (e.g. neo-classical, basic game theory and behavioural economics) and ignore social dimensions.
× Perspectives are mostly taught in silos without identifying key interactions between them.
3. Economic perspectives are taught within a historical context exploring the interaction with economic, political and social history.
Rationale: This will ensure a broad overview of economic thinking including neo-classical thinking but always put in a wider context rather than being taught as a stand-alone objective science.
✔ Economic masters programmes include a required unit on the history of economic thought.
✔ Interdisciplinary masters programmes include in a required unit or units, an introductory session or sessions on the history of economic thought.
× Neo-classical economics is presented as an objective science that supersedes previous perspectives.
4. Economic perspectives taught include viewing economic systems as open systems with potentially significant interactions with ecological systems.
Rationale: This will ensure links to the ecological crisis is included in teaching.
✔ Ecological economics perspectives are included in required units within the programme.
× The environment is only treated as an input to and a sink for economic systems.
C. Real World Evidential Approach
5. Teaching embeds discussion of theory in richly described real-world systems from diverse contexts.
Rationale: This will ensure theory and evidence effectively inform each other.
✔ Teaching explores theories in the context of what evidence proves and disproves them including recognising where theories have been disproved or are tautologist.
✔ Emphasis is as much on inductive as deductive reasoning and in the latter case a range of starting assumptions are explored.
✔ Important links between economic, social, ecological and political spheres are not ignored (e.g. inequality or conditioning from advertising) and a systemic analytical approach is taken.
✔ Perspectives, contexts and issues from the North and South, and different races, genders (.e.g. unpaid work), ecological realities, social classes etc are included.
× Real world examples are chosen on the basis that they are the best fit to theories.
6. Teaching explores and supports understanding of the limitations and embedded values of a range of sources of evidence including but not limited to data
Rationale: This will ensure that a full range of evidence is considered and the influence of evidence interpretation is understood.
✔ the definitions of key data, such as unemployment, GDP, price indices and poverty are discussed, and controversial aspects highlighted.
✔ Qualitative evidence is included as a valid source.
✔ Representations and interpretations of the economy are made explicit and questioned.
✔ Conclusions are assessed and compared based on different interpretations and sources of evidence.
× Data is presented as if it is objective without any discussion of its sources or the underlying representations and interpretations.
× Qualitative evidence is ignored.
D. Active, Reflective and Critical Learning
7. Teaching promotes active learning encouraging honest and open reflection on and critique of assumptions and values underlying different perspectives on economic issues (including the lecturer’s and students’)
Rationale: This will ensure critical awareness and creative thinking are at the core of economic learning.
✔ Exploration of the implications of different objectives for economic policy (e.g. minimising environmental impacts vs maximising GDP vs promoting equality).
✔ Examining what policy directions emerge from using different economic perspectives to address real world issues.
✔ Engagement with the economic perspectives of diverse communities e.g. through placements in companies, NGOs and community groups.
✔ Exploration of the impact of background, influences and values on what economic perspectives individuals and groups take (e.g. the echo chamber effect).
✔ Include exercises to support reflection on the impact of different perspectives, biases and assumptions such as serious games and role playing.
✔ Support students to diversify the range of sources they use for learning and build their ability to learn to learn.
✔ Assessment processes for programmes focus on the critical and creative ability of students.
× Programmes only involve lecture programmes supporting passive learning.
× Assessment is primarily by multiple choice questions and requirements to reproduce proofs.
E. Continuous Improvement
8. The department(s) providing the programme(s) is(are) committed to continue building their capacity and culture to support a pluralist approach to teaching about the economy.
Rationale: This will ensure ongoing development of a pluralist and interdisciplinarity practice in the department(s)
✔ Departments have a professional development programme to support pluralism and interdisciplinarity.
✔ Departments have a recruitment strategy to build the range of their expertise.
✔ Departments encourage greater gender, social and racial diversity to overcome historical bias.
✔ Departments encourage interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary dialogues building relationships across departments and with communities outside the university.
× Departments are only focused on their own discipline’s research.