On Wednesday 18th January 2012 CDoTL played host to a visit from colleagues from the Teaching and Learning Unit (‘Ionad Bairre’) at University College Cork (UCC), Ireland. Professor Grace Neville (VP Teaching and Learning), Dr Bettie Higgs and Marian McCarthy (Co-Directors of Ionad Bairre) spent the day meeting with the CDoTL team to find out more about the work of the Centre and its role in supporting institutional T&L enhancement.

UCC are currently undergoing a review of their teaching and learning support provision and were looking to other T&L centres both within Ireland and overseas to provide them with ideas and insights in supporting enhancement across institutions. The aim was to use their visit to inform recommendations for future T&L support at UCC. CDoTL were therefore delighted to be chosen by UCC as an example of ‘good practice’ in central enhancement of teaching and learning.

In particular, the UCC team were keen to find out more about Reading’s T&L Awards, Fellowships and projects schemes, as well as our provision for disseminating good practice and supporting colleagues’ staff development (e.g. as part of CDoTL’s work with the Centre for Staff Training and Development). Our UCC colleagues were also keen to find out more about the role of CDoTL in leading and supporting bids for external T&L funding, something which CDoTL have had much success in in recent years. The visit also provided the UCC team with an opportunity to find out more about our School T&L structures and to meet with the PVC Teaching and Learning, Professor Gavin Brooks, as well as some of the Faculty Directors for Teaching and Learning.

Left to right: Marian McCarthy (Co-Director of Ionad Bairre, UCC), Professor Grace Neville (VP Education, UCC), Dr Bettie Higgs (Co-Director of Ionad Bairre, UCC) and Dr Anne Crook (CDoTL.)

 Dr Betties Higgs commented on the University’s T&L Awards and Fellowship schemes “The reward and recognition systems you have in place are invaluable for reminding staff of the status of teaching and learning – key functions of higher education institutions.”

UCC also support Blackboard as their Virtual Learning Environment, so were interested to find out more about CDoTL’s work in supporting Blackboard and, more broadly, e-Learning, across the University. The visit was also an opportunity to showcase some of the methods used by CDoTL to engage with Schools, for example the Pathfinder work, in which CDoTL works closely with Schools in preparation for their respective Periodic Reviews. Dr Betties Higgs commented “The Pathfinder initiative is excellent. The support for staff comes at the right time in the cycle for the periodic review. It’s obvious that Schools benefit from the more in-depth consideration of Teaching and Learning, enabled by this initiative. We will be recommending similar support at an appropriate stage in our own Quality review cycle.”

Professor Neville’s comments on their visit to CDoTL “Thank you to the whole Team at CDoTL, and to your colleagues from the Faculties. It was definitely a good choice to visit Reading. We will be able to quote some of your initiatives when we make recommendations for our future in our Centre for Teaching and Learning.”

Dr Anne Crook