At the University of Sheffield, the Engaged Curriculum initiative is supported by an advisory group. This group recently met to review the project’s progress during 2014, and to bring together ideas on our priorities for 2015.
The group is comprised of representatives from across all faculties within the institution, and we have recently reviewed the membership to ensure we have engaged practitioners contributing to discussions, as they can bring valuable insights from their recent experiences of this type of work. The group met most recently on the 16th December, and we thought it might be helpful to our readers to give you a short summary of the meeting’s highlights.
During the meeting, Director for Learning and Teaching Brendan Stone summarised the project’s progress during 2014. The project’s key achievements can be neatly summarised:
- Support for sustainable learning and teaching projects within clear priority areas
- Influencing and contributing to the development of Achieve More
- Working across the institution, including with enterprise, WP, volunteering and the public engagement team
During the meeting we also talked about the project’s priorities for 2015, and how we should be moving the engaged learning and teaching agenda forward both within the University and outside, in the community. The Group raised the following points during the discussion:
- The grass roots approach to developing funded projects has provided the initiative with a fundamental base, upon which we should now be looking to build. We should we be considering how to reward consistency and consolidation within engaged learning and teaching, rather than focusing solely on innovation?
- We perhaps now need to bring together groups to focus on ideas generation across broader themes, relating to strategic priorities for the institution. For instance, could we hold a higher level ideas generation event, including those involved in projects, to develop themes which cross link around sets of problems.
- Is there viability in exploring the possibility of joining with other Russell Group institutions who are developing engaged working, such as York and Exeter.
- Could we facilitate bringing people together and connecting them into larger networks, e.g. within the university and also outside such as 7 university global consortium.
- We need to be better at communicating our successes – various approaches to this were suggested by attendees.
- We also need to consider student stories/testimonies and community perspectives when articulating the successes of the engaged curriculum work.
- It may be useful to consider building an internal University of Sheffield engaged network, to encompass individuals from across the institution who are undertaking this type of work.
The meeting was very useful and will inform our planning for 2015. It’s an exciting time at the University, as consultation for the new Strategic Plan is ongoing, and it’s also an exciting period for the Engaged Curriculum project, which will further develop over the coming year.
For those of you who are keen to keep up-to-date on engaged learning and teaching issues over the Christmas break, don’t fear, as the blog will be updated as normal over the festive period with a new post each Monday morning.