University Teaching Fellows – A Growing Community by Helen Hathaway

As the new academic year starts it seems a good time to focus on the Community of Practice of University Teaching Fellows (UTF). It is a growing community of teaching enthusiasts who are not only committed to teaching innovation and excellence, but to continuing professional development of themselves and their colleagues.  As incoming chair of the UTF Community of Practice, I am looking forward to continuing the theme of mentoring which developed under Richard Mitchell’s leadership, and especially to encourage others in support roles to consider themselves as candidates to become a UTF.  Michelle Reid, a Study Adviser, and I are currently the only UTFs working in an academic support and development directorate and we would welcome others.

One of the strengths of the community is the ability to draw on knowledge and experience across the University by networking in an informal, though structured, way. In the coming year the areas of excellence and good practice about which I would hope to encourage discussion and development are embedded academic skills. For an example of a current project where this is already happening in a tripartite partnership see

Other ways in which the Community can contribute to the development of teaching – especially important in the context of any emerging Teaching Excellence Framework – are in offering its breadth of expertise of teaching matters on University strategies and plans, and to disseminate good practice.

If you are thinking of applying to be a UTF, my advice would be to look at the criteria now as it is likely you can plan your teaching for the Autumn and early Spring terms to strengthen any areas where you feel less confident of completing all four sections of the application. Most importantly it gives time to reflect on your teaching and achievements. No need to wait for the award to be launched in March with its strict deadline: start now to think about how to present your experience and expertise. You may also get double duty if you have already applied, or are considering applying, for Senior Fellowship of the HEA via the FLAIR CDP route: the necessary analysis of your teaching philosophy, looking at the UKPSF (UK Professional Standards Framework)and the reflection on the wider impact of your activities will also help in your UTF application. A mentor is the best possible support you can have in the process – everyone I have spoken to says so. Come and join us! Please contact CQSD or me for an informal discussion or to be put in touch with a potential mentor.

Congratulations to the new University Teaching Fellows 2015-16:

  • Dr Tabarak Ballal, School of Construction Management & Engineering
  • Dr Richard Harris, Institute of Education
  • Dr Karsten Lundqvist, School of Systems Engineering

Details of the 2016 scheme will be announced in the new year.

Internationalising Student Support Community of Practice (COP) by Matthew Daley

The University Strategy for Teaching and Learning identified “communities of practice” as key vehicles for informal dialogue with the ‘academic voice’ and for mutual support, for the exchange of ideas and the sharing of good practice between different role groups involved in the whole University teaching and learning agenda.

The Internationalising Student Support COP has been established with the remit to offer opportunities for staff involved with and interested in the development and enhancement of student support and experience in relation to internationalisation; to share best practice and discuss current challenges and opportunities for providing a high quality international student experience for all students. This COP is led by the University’s International Student Adviser in partnership with RUSU’s elected International Students’ Officer and supported by the Associate Dean (Science).

Each meeting focuses on a particular theme and good practice and ideas for improvement on that theme are presented and shared, with the intention of exploring how to disseminate good practice effectively.

The first meeting took place on Wednesday 5 December with the theme ‘Employability’ and attracted 20 members of staff from across the University.

Some of the highlights were:

  • Em Sowden, Placement and Development Manager, talked about the demand for international placements from all students particularly in China, Malaysia and India. Em also talked about the new online resource ‘My Jobs Online’.
  • Jane Batchelor, Career Development Advisor for the School of Real Estate & Planning and Lilly Mae Liddicott, Head of Industrial Training/Industry Liaison for the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences both highlighted the value of Alumni involvement. Alumni could be used in a number of ways including mentoring current students and offering evening lectures.
  • Organising student-led events, where previous placement students can talk to current students about their own placement experience and how it has benefited them.

Future meetings and their themes are below and bookings can be made via CSTD:

  • Tailoring Support for International Students (staff supporting international/EU students)

–        Thursday 07/02/2013 – 13.00-14.00

  • Integration and Languages (staff supporting all students)

–         Wednesday 24/04/2013 – 13.00-14.00