Ethics in Practice

Ryan Bramley, student researcher on the project ‘Filmmaking and the Engaged Curriculum’ has reflected on the ethical considerations he has had to take into account as part of his research process.

We thought it might be useful to share his blog post which is available here.

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Priorities for the Engaged Curriculum

Over the past few weeks we have detailed some of the projects which are currently being supported by the Engaged Curriculum Project at the University of Sheffield. As we move forward into a new phase of the funding scheme, I thought it might be useful to outline what we see as key priorities for the Engaged Curriculum work. In order to clarify the purpose of the project, we have produced five broad aims, as follows:

  • To bring about an organic change of academic culture and embed an awareness of engagement in the curriculum within the ethos of the University.
  • To further develop existing engaged curriculum activity across the institution, to ensure it is embedded and sustainable.
  • To support the transition of existing engaged activities from extra-curricular to curricular.
  • To provide opportunities for individuals and teams across the institution to share best practice in the area of engagement in learning and teaching.
  • To support recognition of engaged activities within the curriculum, through a variety of formal and informal channels.

We are working in a variety of different ways to address each of the above priorities. Sheffield has a long history of engaged learning and teaching, and as such this project is building upon a strong foundation, and seeks to develop this existing strength to ensure that all students have the opportunity within their learning to address real world concerns, put their subject-specific knowledge into context and experience exposure to external inputs.

We will be continuing to work on the above priorities, which will no doubt evolve as the project progresses and the University develops related initiatives, such as Achieve More. This is an exciting time for us, the University and perhaps most importantly for the students studying here at Sheffield.

Black Firsts in British Criminal Justice

Professor Paul Knepper  from the School of Law updates us on the progress of his project which is supported by the Engaged Curriculum Funding Stream.

During the past decade or so, Black Britons have achieved a number of ‘firsts’ in legal professions. In 1999, Patricia Dangor became Britain’s circuit judge of Caribbean background. Linda Dobbs became the first Black High Court judge and Michael Fuller the first Black Chief Constable in 2004. Barbara Mensah became the first Crown Court judge of African ancestry, and Grace Ononiwu, Britain’s first Black Chief Crown Prosecutor, in 2005. Patricia Scotland, the first Black woman appointed QC, became in 2007, Britain’s first Black Attorney General.

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Developing Ethics of Engagement for Sheffield

Recently we have been working to develop some guidelines for ‘engaged‘ activity within the University of Sheffield. We have some excellent activity already in existence within the curriculum here at Sheffield, and as we work to develop this area, we are aware that providing guidance for those embarking on engaged activity may go some way to safeguarding the communities we are working with; the students undertaking this work; and the reputation of the University.

The concept of ‘ethics of engagement’ came about through discussions with University academics with vast experience of engaged activity within the curriculum. They highlighted the difference in process between the vigorous ethics approval process required in advance of undertaking any research, and how it seemed slightly strange to find a lack of similar approval process required before working with external groups, many of which may be under-represented, from vulnerable communities, and have had little prior contact with the University. We decided that rather than aiming to introduce strict approval criteria for engaged activity within the curriculum, a sensible first step would be to develop a set of guidelines, outlining key areas of consideration for University staff wishing to engage with external individuals or groups within their teaching.

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