All posts by Patrick Doherty

Record attendance at Learning and Teaching conference

More than 180 people attended the University’s 12th Annual Learning and Teaching conference which was held last week at the Foresight Centre – the highest number ever.

Attendees included academic staff, colleagues from the Senior Management Team and Professional Services, and students.  We were also delighted to welcome Professor Youmin Xi and others  from the Senior Management Team at XJTLU to the event. The keynote presentation, by Professor Pat Thomson from Nottingham University, proved both engaging and thought-provoking and an excellent start to the day. You can view a video stream of the keynote lecture at

The conference, organised by the Educational Development Division of the Centre for Lifelong Learning, provides  an excellent  forum for us all  to share innovative learning and teaching practice, experiences and insights  across the institution. It was a really good  day. Forty five  different workshop presentations showcased a wide variety of innovative learning and teaching developments from all three faculties. There was a real excitement and energy generated by the discussions we had and lots of food for thought.

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The Academic Advisor

The University has recently approved an updated Academic Advisor Framework. As highlighted in the Student Charter, all students at the University of Liverpool will be assigned a named academic member of staff as their Academic Advisor.

An associated handbook for Academic Advisors has also been produced which describes the role of the Academic Advisor and outlines the additional support that will be offered within schools and departments. The handbook has been developed by colleagues from the Centre for Lifelong Learning, in consultation with academic staff, professional services staff and representatives from the Liverpool Guild of Students. It sets out the minimum engagement expected by Academic Advisors. Schools and departments will provide supplementary information on the additional support provided to students and to academic advisors within their discipline. The handbook will be updated to include this information.

A new web page on Academic Advising is available on the Educational Development website at:

The website includes:

  • A link to a brief video introduction on the role of the Academic Advisor.
  • A copy of the Academic Advisor Handbook 2013-14. School specific versions of the handbook will be made available from this web page.
  • Information on the range of academic and additional support services that are offered to students at department, school and institutional level.

Focusing on Student Induction

Student induction is a tricky problem. Is it simply a one off, all bells and whistles Welcome (Freshers’) Week?  We know, from  research by the Student Induction Group  over the last couple of years, that students want to be involved,  informed, and inspired when they join the university and properly introduced to their academic departments and their academic studies, as well as making friends. We also argue  that induction is not, and should not be, a one off event.

If we are to be effective at inducting students into the institution then it must be seen as a process that continues well beyond the first week. Having worked initially on developing Welcome Week activities to better reflect this view of induction, Educational Development, on behalf of the Induction Working Group, ran a very successful dissemination and discussion event on 26 January 2012 to promote best practice in ongoing induction. Staff came from across the university to hear academic colleagues describing seven different approaches to ongoing induction using posters developed especially for the event. Working in small groups staff were able to engage with the ideas, share their own experiences and consider new and innovative ways forward. There was also an opportunity to look at seven different ideas for supporting student induction from professional services staff. Again, debate was lively and constructive.

  • “I thought the event went really well yesterday.”
  • “the induction event was great and staff were really engaged”
  • “Thanks for arranging today’s event. It was very useful and I enjoyed the day.”
  • “Brilliant’s rare that I can say that I truly enjoyed / profited from such a thing.  Today was really good.”

The next step is to gather more examples of practice in ongoing induction from participants who attended the event. We know that there are many more examples of good practice at large across the institution. We plan to bring all this together to design a Guide to Student Induction at Liverpool, and hope to have this available on our web site by Easter 2012.

All the presentations from the Induction Event and the reports produced by the Student Induction Group can be accessed at student induction. The posters from the event will be displayed at the annual Learning and Teaching Conference [20thJune 2012].  if you have a good example that you would like to contribute to the Guide then please do get in touch. Patrick Doherty and Anne Qualter