University of Strathclyde



We piloted a scheme where students are challenged to undertake placements in various socially-minded projects. The students were placed based on their expertise and on the needs of grassroot-level organisations. Last year we placed students in 13 different projects in the greater Glasgow geographical area, in the following  academic season we will have students placed in 29 different projects.  


Department of Strategy and Organization

Faculty of Business

Contact Details

Dr Konstantinos Tomazos




The rationale for this scheme is based on the concept of experiential learning, but also on our conviction that the university in the spirit of delivering useful learning should have close ties with the local community and a variety of stakeholders. This initiative was chosen because it could deliver on both of the above goals; provide the students with transformational learning experiences and also raise the profile of the university in the local community.


The positive impact on the students is two-fold. Firstly the students get the experience of working in a ‘real’ environment and dealing with real problems and growing in confidence and in terms of their skill-set; and secondly the students get to take what they have learnt in the classroom and they apply it in action. It is this immediacy of transitioning between theory and practice that makes this scheme such an attractive proposition for our students.

As for the staff, there are wonderful networking opportunities and the opportunity to work in different settings, take part in meetings outside the ivory tower of academia and see with their own eyes how the university makes a difference.

Please see below the feedback from the staff:

The various Social Responsibility options offer students the opportunity to work with a range of organisations and programmes on initiatives designed to address various forms of disadvantage. Students are able to gain valuable real-world experience while giving something back to the local community. The evaluation of last year’s programme shows that the pathway was particularly successful with regard to the following:

  • developing students’ employability skills
  • raising students’ awareness of various forms of disadvantage
  • allowing students to feel a sense of satisfaction at helping to address disadvantage
  • providing students with an enjoyable and rewarding experience

Lessons Learnt

We need to start a structured dialogue with the local stakeholders and find out in a more systematic way what are their needs and how our students can contribute in the most effective way.

What I would do differently is to find a platform or the means to highlight the role the university is playing and all the good work being done.


The main challenge, in my opinion, is how to assign different roles to different students. In general, all the options allow students to develop a number of employability skills including communication, team-work and leadership. For some options, we have also indicated Strathclyde Business School subjects that may have some relevance to the work involved. This does not mean that students who do not study these subject areas should not indicate a preference for these options, or that they are less likely to be chosen to take part in them. While we allow students to choose an option that offers them the best opportunity to develop skills most relevant to their future career, we cannot offer a guarantee that they will be able to undertake work directly relevant to their stated subject area.

This is why we need to have this dialogue with the stakeholders, and the students in order to find the best fit for all.


As mentioned already, we have had a very successful year with 13 projects, and we are preparing for an expanded 29 project scheme this year. We do have a large cohort of students in the third year and I am sure while we expand MDP and its curriculum we will be able to integrate in our work future international students, different pathways and possible articulations. As such there is scope to scale up and create a culture of service learning.

The one issue we have is the fact that the students are only taking 5 credits for their involvement which some students find too little by reflection to the effort they put in. The question is…do we keep it as it is? Raise the credit value or do away with the credit and encourage students to engage in their community in a more unconditional way? But this is a philosophical question.

Suggestions for Transferability

 I would argue that what MDP does is in line with what other faculties do in terms of delivering useful learning and value to communities, locally, nationally and further afield. What we need though is a concentrated effort to systematically create an umbrella organisation that would oversee holistically all the good work that is being done. This way we can build an excellent narrative that can be utilised by the university in order to raise its profile.


There are two attachments; A report on the pathways and choices for session 2015 2016 and a PPOINT on how it all works.