This blog was first and foremost designed to share interesting things which have been happening with the many and varied projects which are related to the Engaged Curriculum. From time to time we also include updates on project milestones, progress and to share our thoughts on future directions.
At the end of July we convened our advisory group, which is made up or ‘practitioners’, in other words staff from across the University who undertake engaged learning and teaching. Their work is exceptionally varied, and the individuals come from different faculties of the University. Some individuals have been doing this type of work for years, others are newer to it but nevertheless all are enthusiastic and genuinely believe in the benefits of engaged learning and teaching in terms of students, the institution, and the community.
During the meeting at the end of July, we talked extensively about how important it is that we support better understanding of what we mean by the ‘Engaged Curriculum’. As ever in higher education institutions, we are one of several curriculum-focused initiatives, and we are always conscious that we do not want to seem like ‘just another thing’ to academics. The concept of the Engaged Curriculum was developed not from a mere idea, but from existing work. The University’s learning and teaching strategy for 2011-2015 is entitled ‘Global education in a civic university’, not because the institution simply decided this type of work should be a priority, but because so much of it was already taking place and it wanted to harness this knowledge and experience, and ensure it was shared and embedded across the whole University.
We now have a fantastic portfolio of projects which have been developed by academics across the institution. These are a mixture of projects which have been funded and supported through the initiative, and those which are longer standing and pre-date the work of myself and Brendan Stone, who is the Director of Learning and Teaching for this area of work. We are now working on disseminating the outcomes of these projects, both in terms of the concrete outputs which have been generated, and also thinking about what the staff have learned and how this information might help others who are interested in developing similar areas of work.
In relation to the above, we are working with a local filmmaking collective to develop a series of short films, to showcase some of the projects which have been developed over the past eighteen months, and also an overarching piece to show what engaged learning and teaching looks like here at the University of Sheffield. Alongside this there will be a publication, available both in print and digital format, which will go into more detail about the various projects. Naturally we can’t include everything, but we do hope that collecting the information into attractive summaries will go some way to helping to develop understanding of this work both within and outside the institution.
So, watch this space for news on where to find the videos and publications…