I arrived at Kingston only shortly before HEFCE launched in 1999 the Teaching Quality Enhancement Fund (TQEF) to raise the status of and support developments in learning and teaching. At the time I failed to grasp the full significance of this development as I thought universities would be full of people discussing teaching and assessment strategies and working on innovative projects. Well, actually, Kingston University does have a large number of staff who are interested in learning and teaching and TQEF and its sister, Widening Participation (WP) funding, have been able to contribute in some small way to supporting initiatives, giving people the space to “have a go” at innovating or finding out about how their students learn.
Kingston’s approach was innovative in the sector. We were one of the first universities to try to bring together various strategies by earmarking some of the WP postcode funding to support students once they were “on course” (thus freeing up TQEF for developments in e-learning) and by using Rewarding and Developing Staff monies for the establishment of Teaching Fellowships to offer rewards to a small number of staff for consistently being good teachers. (We will soon be producing a publication on the Teaching Fellowship projects).
It isn’t possible here to list all the work that has been undertaken as part of this work but I’d like to mention some of the highlights:
- The Learning and Teaching Co-coordinators, funded by WP, who have supported me and my ADC colleagues with the projects, initiatives such as the Key Skills Frameworks, Induction and Transition, Assessment and Feedback, the annual conferences, the meetings, the PG Cert and literally dozens of other things.
Thank you: Debbie Anderson, Joanna Bailey, Vera Bermingham, James Denholm-Price, Parastou Donyai, Nick Freestone, Carol Gartrell, , David Hodgson, Stuart Marks, Shell Morgan, Libby Rothwell, Neil Thomas, Cheryl Whiting
- The projects-dozens of them: Learning Spaces (all those photos of staircases!), Student support (academic skills, peer assisted learning, support for international students, MathsAid), Group work, practice learning as well as many on learning technologies.
- The revision and expansion of the Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education to meet the needs of a wider range of staff and to bring our work into line with the UK Professional Standards Framework.
In order to receive the initial TQEF funds we had to demonstrate that we had in place a Learning and Teaching Strategy. This was launched in 2000, was updated in 2003 and re-emerged as the Quality Enhancement Strategy in 2006. In September 2009 a new Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy will be launched which hopes to make use of lessons learned and to give faculties the scope for developing their own action plans to meet the goals of the new strategy within their own contexts.
The past ten years have seen some amazing developments in Learning and Teaching at Kingston (see Libby and Stuart’s article below). The Learning and Teaching Team in the ADC are looking forward to working with colleagues across the institution on the next step.
Head of Leaning and Teaching Development