I freely admit that I’m my own worst enemy: despite my best efforts to say ‘no’ to things, I keep on discovering new ways to fill up my days. And so it is here, once again.
During our regular departmental away-day last week, we were discussing our plans for the coming year. At some point in the conversation I idly wondered aloud when we would have to revalidate our programmes with the university. Turns out its next academic year. Next thing I’m offering to present a bottom-up reworking of our provision by Christmas.
Long-standing readers will know that this something I’ve had rolling around my head for some time now (see this and this), so I’m not working from a completely blank sheet. Indeed, I quickly knocked up a Venn diagram of those posts for my colleagues there and then, to somewhat mixed response.
However, not being one to let such things hold me back, I’m going to be working on this through this semester, trying to achieve three headline goals.
- All of the content of the degrees will need to fit into one of three strands: exploration (discovering new material), research (understanding it) and engagement (um, engaging with it). In practice, that’s what we already do, but I want to make this more structured, and to ensure that it happens from day one;
- Embedding student-led learning at the centre of all of this. This includes making much more use of pedagogies as student-as-researcher, applied skills acquisition (e.g. Amanda’s Best Breakfast in Town model) and civic engagement;
- Most tricky, I need to do this in a way that works for the substantial number of students we have on joint honours programmes, who won’t take all our modules. Partly that’ll be about juggling elements and partly about thinking how to embed other disciplines in our activities, to maintain a linkage.
How I’m going to do, I’m less sure, but I’ll keep you posted as we go.