Keynote Talks

Keynote 1: Thursday 20th July 11:15: Waxing lyrical about curriculum review: how a collaborative approach transformed our programmes

Claire Allam (PFHEA, Learning & Teaching Development Manager, University of Sheffield) and
Joan Upson (SFHEA, Senior University Teacher, School of Law, University of Sheffield)

What better way to start a conference on collaboration than with a joint keynote speech! We intend to touch on all the key themes of this year’s conference by looking at the role that a series of collaborations have played in the design and delivery of a new curriculum.

In 2014 the School of Law at Sheffield University embarked upon an ambitious plan to review its six undergraduate programmes. This resulted in the radical restructure of a somewhat traditional family of Law degrees into something that offers students a more varied, rich and real-world experience. From the outset, the intention was to be holistic and inclusive of both staff and students and this included central professional services staff and the Faculty as well as the department. As we look at the role that each collaboration played, we will examine the triumphs and pitfalls of adopting a practice which includes team teaching, peer and group learning, and a commitment from all staff involved to ensure that the holistic approach is maintained.

The main contention of this keynote speech is that for curriculum change to be successful, a collaborative and ongoing organic way of working must be taken and we conclude by looking at the wider-reaching impact of this journey across the whole University. This new method of teaching law at Sheffield has directly influenced the University’s new Learning and Teaching Strategy and its current institution-wide initiative towards more holistic programme-level working.

Keynote 2: Friday 21st July 09:10: More than Just a Teaching Fellow

Dr Anne Tierney, Lecturer, Dept. of Learning and Teaching Enhancement, Edinburgh Napier University

The role of the academic in UK universities is changing. Many universities, in a bid to maximise their REF impact, have, to varying extents, separated the roles of research and teaching. For academics who take on substantive teaching roles, this may have implications for their sense of identity. Misnamed as “teaching-only”, or “teaching fellows”, this group of academics may perceive themselves as marginalised within cultures which promote disciplinary research. I seek to explore the sense of identity of academics who teach, and where they find their identity within their communities of practice, which are often stronger outside of departments or institutions. I suggest that, rather than “teaching-only”, “teaching-focused” is a more appropriate term for these academics. While the findings of my research are based on discussions with teaching-focused academics within Life Sciences disciplines, much of what has been uncovered will be familiar to teachers in higher education whatever their area of expertise.

For further details on our keynotes, please click on their photos for their biographies.