A Mixed Methods Study Exploring the Impact of Marketisation and Student Recruitment in a Case Study Higher Education Provider

  • Alison Watson

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis focuses on a Higher Education Provider’s (HEP) response to marketisation and, specifically, the diversification of the pedagogic approach used to deliver its degrees. The focus of the research explores the development of a Blended learning model, the introduction of campus study centres, segmentation and new student recruitment strategies. A systematic approach to the literature review revealed a number of factors that lead students to applying to university. These factors formed the basis of a set of questions put to the student population of the Blended learning programmes. In-depth interviews were also conducted with university management to gain an understanding of the reasons for change within the HEP and the commercial strategies implemented in order to secure student numbers in a competitive market. The findings reveal a relative ease to entering the Blended learning market. This, it is suggested, has been largely due to responding to student needs and by working collaboratively with a range of stakeholders to deliver relevant courses. The programmes meet student expectations of work readiness and enhanced employability skills.
The research focuses on four main segments of the adult higher education market. The results suggest two of the segments have been successfully recruited from and are performing well. The other two segments are more challenging in relation to the perceived capabilities of the students. The research addresses these difficulties and provides recommendations to improve communication between the Marketing and Admissions departments and the students. The research also provides an overview of successful marketing communication tools and recommendations for future enhancements, such as erecting signage and utilising endorsements from others, such as, from other students.
The thesis adds an original contribution to understanding pedagogic delivery within Blended learning in a private university. It also provides the academic community with four alternative segments to consider in the higher education sector. The research also adds to the body of literature with regards to economic and emotional factors within the student recruitment process and the effective use of marketing communications.
Date of Award3 May 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Teesside University
SupervisorEwan Ingleby (Supervisor) & Clive Hedges (Supervisor)

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