This year’s Learning and Teaching conference, held in the Foresight Centre on the 2nd July 2015, once again showed an increase in the number of presentations and attendees discussing innovative practice in learning and teaching across The University of Liverpool.
Professor Daniella Tilbury, inaugural Vice Chancellor of the University of Gibraltar, opened the conference by asking staff to discuss the meaning of ‘Learning to Change’ and ‘Sustainability’ amongst themselves before presenting a talk that asked delegates to think hard about the purpose of a university education for students and society.
This set the tone for a lively, engaging, and enjoyable conference with a record number of delegates able to choose from 58 presentations and workshops on offer (all abstracts available here) from staff from across the university and some of our partner institutions. A number of the presentations were co-delivered with students, which always adds an additional perspective.
Professor Gavin Brown, our new Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education, gave the afternoon address. His presentation comprised an overview of the fast-changing national context for Learning and Teaching, including the ‘hot off the press’ setting up of a process to develop a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). He then spoke about the university strategic review and his early thoughts on an Education Strategy.
Two further presentations showcasing innovative learning and teaching practice were delivered by two Faculty winners of the Sir Alistair Pilkington awards for teaching excellence – Dr Georgina Turner from Media and Communications, and Dr Ali Al-Ataby from Electrical Engineering and Electronics. The conference was also the launch event for the new lecture capture software developed by the Computing Services Department.
Overall, the conference provided an opportunity for many colleagues to share their enthusiasm for learning and teaching, and to learn about other innovative learning and teaching practice that is happening across our institution.
Dr Kahn, who works in Educational Development, was awarded the Fellowship by a panel of peers, including an experienced external accreditor. Principal Fellowship is granted in recognition of extensive experience and impact at strategic level in relation to learning and teaching. Through his academic practice, Dr Kahn demonstrated successful leadership to enhance student learning across the University and beyond. His attainment of Principal Fellowship is a significant achievement.
Dr Kahn said:
“I am pleased to have secured this recognition. The panel commented on my thought leadership around educational innovation in higher education, accompanied by spheres of influence to facilitate change in delivery. I am keenly aware that any innovation requires dedication from many people. My attention is particularly taken up now with the University’s professional doctorate in higher education, but I will continue to promote ideas for educational innovation that disrupt and enhance existing practice (see @Peter_Kahn and on LinkedIn)”
ULTRA has been developed to provide an experience-based route to recognition of skills and expertise for any experienced member of staff that teaches or supports learning. Staff can apply to ULTRA in one of four categories, and Dr Kahn will be working alongside colleagues in Educational Development to encourage and support colleagues to apply for Fellowship through the ULTRA Framework.
Many colleagues across the University will be aware of the University’s Access Agreement responsibilities. The challenge of evaluating our Access Agreement is huge, with no steer from HEFCE and the complexities presented in the many facets of our Access Agreement work . . . What form such an evaluation should take was a major headache.
Led by Dr. Mark O’Brien of the Centre for Lifelong Learning, working with Widening Participation champions from across the university as well as Educational Opportunities, the project has led to the development of an approach to evaluation which is at once appreciative and realistic aiming to inform our development as a university at strategic and operational level. The full report is available at http://www.liv.ac.uk/cll/reports, entitled ‘Widening Participation and Fair Access at the University of Liverpool by Dr Mark O’Brien’.
In this blog post I want to focus on the emerging theme of ‘the inclusive department’. By asking individuals and groups to identify what in their professional experience are the key features of apparently successful departmental activities, and then using rigorous data analysis, drilling down to local level, the evaluator was able to confirm, explain or expand on many such professional insights. The result is a list of features (some of which are found in most areas, while no department would boast all of them).