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Research-led education at the University of Exeter Moving forward for 2012 Dr Dilly Fung Education Enhancement

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Presentation on theme: "Research-led education at the University of Exeter Moving forward for 2012 Dr Dilly Fung Education Enhancement"— Presentation transcript:

1 Research-led education at the University of Exeter Moving forward for 2012 Dr Dilly Fung Education Enhancement

2 Overview Part 1 1. Research-led education and the University vision 2. Theory into practice: 1. Maria: experiencing research as curriculum content 2. Carlo: experiencing learning as practising research 3. Identifying the full spectrum of high quality practices 4. Direct relationship with graduate skills, attributes and employability 3. What the University is excelling at now; four examples- 1. Students as agents for change 2. Interdisciplinary initiatives such as Big Dilemma 3. Research communities as evidenced by staff awards 4. The ASPIRE accreditation scheme for staff in research-led education

3 Overview Part 2 4. Proposal for enhancement for 2012 a) Bringing together research and teaching staff b) Mapping and communicating research-rich moments through the curriculum in all subject areas c) Introducing University-wide, research-rich experiences: ‘Meet Your Professor’ Grand Challenges/capstone courses

4 Overview Part 3 5. Next steps a. Development and discussion of exemplar models for University wide, research-rich moments b. College reviews: i. Curriculum design ii. Subject-level events and initiatives iii. College-level events and initiatives iv. Embedding University initiatives c. Submitting JISC bid on digital literacies d. Embedding research-led characteristics into quality processes e. Marketing our strengths in providing the highest quality research-led education

5 Research-led: embedded in the University mission ‘… students benefit from – and want to be taught by – academics at the leading edge of their fields. Thus high quality research-informed teaching is our aim.’ Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor, University of Exeter Strategic Plan 2011

6 Student Learning Partnership ‘As a research intensive university, research is at the heart of all we do... We want you to be able to share the excitement of research, of working alone and with others to think, challenge and extend the boundaries of knowledge.’

7 Research and teaching synergy Research-like learning experiences for students Research-rich communities Internationally renowned research staff

8 Research-led Education A high quality, international research profile enables us to build a rich research community and an academically rigorous learning environment. Quality teaching is characterised as enabling students to think analytically, critically and creatively, within and across subject and international boundaries – just as the best researchers do.

9 So what is research-led education? Putting theory into practice

10 STUDENTS ARE PARTICIPANTS EMPHASIS ON RESEARCH CONTENT EMPHASIS ON RESEARCH PROCESSES AND PROBLEMS STUDENTS ARE AUDIENCE Research-tutored Research-based Research-led Research-orientated Engaging in research discussions Undertaking research and inquiry Learning about current research in the discipline Developing research and inquiry skills and techniques The research-teaching nexus (Healey and Jenkins, 2006)

11 What does this theory mean in practice for an individual student? The lived experience of each student will be different, but following Healey’s model we can conceptualise a range of ways of experiencing research-led education.

12 Emphasis on research content: Maria’s experience Maria attends classes where latest research in the field is shared and explored She selects option modules to follow up on individual areas of specialist interest She discusses implications of latest research for limitations of knowledge in her own subject area

13 Developing as a researcher: Carlo’s experience Carlo learns through engaging in research-like activities, as an individual and in research ‘teams’ He develops, practises and evaluates a range of research perspectives and methodologies He develops specific research techniques, with associated practical, academic and employability skills

14 Research-rich moments: by level of delivery University -level College & subject level Programme & module level for example Prestigious researchers as speakers Interdisciplinary initiatives such as ‘Big Dilemma’ Research- related work experience opportunities for example College staff – student research conferences College/subject peer-reviewed journals Events/classes where PGR/PGT students working with and inspire UGs for example Inspirational engagement with staff research Learning activities which echo research activities Stopping off points for students explicitly to reflect on challenge of creating new knowledge and on limitations of current knowledge for example Research-skills portfolios Projects (individual gp) & dissertations Team-based problem solving tasks Conference-style research abstracts, peer review, presentations and symposia Students assessments

15 Direct links with graduate attributes, skills and employability When students learn as junior partners in their research communities, they not only develop as subject specialists, but also acquire a spectrum of high level graduate and employability skills, from problem- solving, teamwork and project management to leadership, the highest level communication skills and digital literacies.

16 University of Exeter strengths What are we doing well now?

17 What else is special at the University of Exeter? ‘ASPIRE’ STAFF ACCREDITATION SCHEME STUDENTS AS AGENTS OF CHANGE UNIVERSITY-WIDE INTERDISCIPLINARY OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS RESEARCH COMMUNITIES as evidenced by staff awards

18 Student opportunities which add value now STUDENTS AS AGENTS OF CHANGE Student-led research-style projects which impact both students’ quality of learning and their research skills development UNIVERSITY-WIDE INTERDISCIPLINARY OPPORTUNITIES Big Dilemma initiative High profile researchers as speakers

19 Highly regarded and qualified staff ‘ASPIRE’ STAFF HEA ACCREDITATION SCHEME Leading the field in our staff development focus on academic practice and on research-led education STAFF AWARDS Highlight best research communities and most inspiring use of research in teaching enthusiastically cited by students Cutting edge research seminars and debates (e.g. in Geography, Film, Classics and Ancient History) Teaching which sustains focus on research + Outreach projects (e.g. Physics) ASPIRE A ccrediting S taff P rofessionalism I n R esearch-Led E ducation

20 Proposals for enhancement for 2012

21 Bringing together research and teaching staff A Research-Led Education Forum for bringing together representative senior teaching staff and researchers, along with senior professional staff leading on research-led education, would enable us to capitalise upon our strengths in this area.

22 Mapping and communicating research-rich moments through the curriculum in all subjects Level 1Level 2Level 3 Key Programme/module assessment Subject-wide opportunity College-level activity University-wide activity

23 Research and the student journey Publicity Choice Pre-arrival Induction First formal learning experiences Settling in Learning in class Learning beyond and between classes Establishing participation Attracted by research First steps in research Practising research

24 Introducing University-wide, research-rich experiences: ‘Meet Your Professor’ We can provide: A template for a research-led, small group induction experience for first year students Student brief: to provide a communications artefact (e.g. PowerPoint; leaflet; web page) which introduces the work of a senior staff researcher to a non-specialist audience Student task: involves meeting and questioning their ‘professor,’ in small groups, to understand his or her aims and activities as a researcher

25 Introducing University-wide, research-rich experiences: ‘Grand Challenges’ A range of issues or dilemmas would be offered for study either within or between Colleges. These would relate to cross cutting University strategic research themes e.g. sustainability; climate change. Teaching and learning approaches would be interactive – possibly using enquiry based learning methods – and there would be a focus on developing and assessing graduate level employability skills including digital literacies.

26 Next steps include: Marketing campaign (external & internal) to characterise and raise the profile of the University of Exeter’s research-as- learning USP College-level reviews to map explicitly and enhance research- rich moments for students at all levels, within and beyond programmes Embed specific quality indicators for research-led education into evaluation reviews, including Periodic Subject Review MARKETING QUALITY PROCESSES COLLEGE ACTIONS

27 Reference Healey, M. and Jenkins, A. (2006) ‘Strengthening the teaching-research linkage in undergraduate courses and programs’ New Directions for Teaching and Learning 2006: 43–53. Accessible online ( ) at:


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