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Transcript: Autumn 2022 Open Day

Dr Bryan Brazeau, Director of Undergraduate Studies >> Hi everyone, welcome to our Virtual Open Day in Liberal Arts at Warwick. In this Overview Session, we're going to cover a great deal of material. We'll talk you through the programme and then you'll have the option of the Questions and Answers Session to ask any questions or concerns you might have. For the logistics of this session, I'm going to hand it over to our amazing Recruitment and Communications Officer, Jess Holt, who is also responsible for the beautiful design of these slides. Jess?

Jess Holt, Recruitment and Communications Officer >> Thank you for a wonderful introduction, Bryan. Thank you everyone for joining us as Bryan said, and I will just run through some quite boring housekeeping bits for you but they are essential for this session to run smoothly. A few things to note before we begin are that the session will be recorded and it will be made available for other Virtual Open Day attendees to view after this event has ended. Any comments that you post in the Room Chat will appear to all attendees in the session so please avoid sharing any personal information. Any comments that you post in the Questions and Answers chat (which hopefully, if you hover over the little button with the question mark it says 'questions and answers') will only appear to us who are speaking to you today. If you do have something that's a personal question such as something specific about admissions, related to an application, then please use that chat. But, if you do put a general question in there that we feel is relevant to the entire group, then we might just speak to that. As a recap, use the Questions and Answers chat for anything personal. Please keep the chat respectful and on topic and following the event, if you would like to view the session with subtitles or a transcript please do just get in touch and we should be able to sort that out for you. The final point is to enjoy the session! We really hope you find this useful, whether you're attending the session right now as we're speaking or if you're watching it in your own time afterward.

I'll move on to the next slide which is a bit of an overview and some introductions. In terms of what you can expect from us today (Bryan will go into more detail about these things), we will cover teaching and undergraduate research, we'll head into a course overview, we're really excited to share with you information about our School for Cross-faculty Studies Venice programme. We'll then move on to some information about pathways and routes which is updated information for our course (we're really looking forward to sharing with you how that works - if you have already seen how the course worked before, it's a little bit different this time around for 2023 entry). We'll then touch on teaching style, study abroad, and work placements and finally, we'll finish on careers and a little bit about the Liberal Arts community. Hopefully, in a nutshell, that's what you'll be expecting to hear from us today.

For the final part of my introduction, I'll start with giving some introductions to our team and I'll begin with myself. I'm Jess, as Bryan already mentioned, I'm a Recruitment and Communications Officer in the School for Cross-faculty Studies. I look after Liberal Arts and our sister department, Global Sustainable Development, and potentially some new divisions in the future so that's exciting! What I will do now is hand over to Bodrun first to give you a little introduction, then to Ellen and Elvire, and then we'll finally hear from Bryan who will carry on the session from there. So Bodrun, if you're okay to pick up from here?

Bodrun Nahar, Employability and Placement Manager >> I am and thank you, Jess. Hi everyone, I'm Bodrun Nahar, and I'm the Employability and Placement Manager for the Liberal Arts degree programme. I won't go too much into my role (I'll save that for later) but please feel free to ask any questions that you may have - you can put them in the chat. I'll talk more about my role and how I'll be supporting you later on in this session, but for now, I'll pass you over to Ellen.

Ellen, Liberal Arts student >> Hello everyone, I hope you're all right. I am a second year now, it's weird seeing that in writing! I've just finished my first year, so still imagine myself as that. I'm a second-year Liberal Arts student and I've been really enjoying the course so far. Any questions you have about the course, what it's like from a student's perspective, I'll be more than happy to answer. I'll hand over to Elvire now.

Elvire, Liberal Arts student >> Hello everyone, I hope you're also doing well, I'm a third year now and just like Ellen I have to get accustomed to my new title! My pathway is in Life Sciences and Global Sustainable Development. I've had an amazing time in Liberal Arts so far. Feel free to ask me any questions about the course, such as student life, or anything really. I'm there to help out if you have any questions.

Dr Bryan Brazeau, Director of Undergraduate Studies >> Excellent, great, thanks so much for that Elvire. My name's Bryan, I'm the Director of Undergraduate Studies here in Liberal Arts, I'm also Director of Postgraduate Studies, Study Abroad Advisor... I wear lots of hats! I'm going to lead us through the presentation today.

Before we go any further, I know that statistics and numbers are oftentimes just silly things that are put up, but we've just received word that our Liberal Arts programme has entered into subject rankings for the first time and was ranked the second-best Liberal Arts programme overall in the UK which we're very excited about! We could also add to this that we were ranked the first-best Liberal Arts programme outside of London, and we came in first place for teaching quality and for student experience.

In addition, last year we acheived 100% overall satisfaction for Liberal Arts students at Warwick in the National Student Survey. This is a survey that's taken of all final-year students across the across country and that means that 100% of our graduating students said that they were satisfied with their course. So don't take it just from us - our students seem to like the course as well, and The Good University Guide rates it quite highly as too.

Right, first let's start talking about what Liberal Arts is. Some of you might be here and you might have a clear idea what it is. Some of you might not be entirely sure. What exactly is Liberal Arts? Well Liberal Arts is really a process, it's not a subject. When people say what subject are you going to study at university, Liberal Arts is kind of... I like to think of it like an anti-subject, right? It's the subject for people who don't like the concept of subjects. Liberal Arts is a way of thinking, it's a way of thinking critically, it's a way of thinking in an interdisciplinary way. This means that you're bringing together lots of different subjects, different lenses, different theories, different perspectives, and you're using them actively to really engage with contemporary problems in the world that matter to you. That's why our tagline is 'Explore what matters to you'. It's not just there for the marketing, it's actually really what we do.

Ultimately, what exactly is Liberal Arts? Where does this term come from? Well, Liberal Arts is an ancient model of education, it goes all the way back to Ancient Greece. It's an ancient model of education that was based on a rigorous, broad education that was meant to create well-informed active and engaged leaders and engaged citizens as well. There was a big emphasis in the Liberal Arts on critical thinking, on innovation, and on intellectual leadership. The idea was that you would learn all of the different Liberal Arts and then that would prepare you for a civic life, for example in Rome, or in the Middle Ages, or in Renaissance Courts etc. It was often used for leaders and higher classes of society to try to educate them to lead society and to think critically with whatever challenges they might face.

The key component that underlines Liberal Arts education from the ancient world all the way through to today, is the idea that the world is complicated. The world is multifaceted, the world is complex, and I think that's truer today than it's ever been. The idea is that we can only understand this world, we can only really engage with it by using multiple disciplines, multiple lenses, multiple viewpoints, even multiple sorts of political opinions, right? Liberal Arts is really about combining these different approaches into something that's meaningful, to find new pathways forward that haven't been thought through yet. But don't worry, this isn't a Classics programme (although my background is in Renaissance Studies). You do not have to study Renaissance Studies if you're not interested in that. Ellen and Elvire can tell you it's true, we don't force it on you (but of course I will always be talking about the Renaissance!).

In Liberal Arts at Warwick, what we've done is we've reinvented Liberal Arts education here. We've tried to reinvent it using the spirit of Liberal Arts education: this spirit of critical thinking, of interdisciplinarity, of civic engagement, to update it for the 21st Century. We use something called Problem-based Learning, which I'll talk more about in a later slide. What we do with Liberal Arts here at Warwick is we try to explore how human experiences are processed, how they're understood, and how they're documented. We do that because we want to try to understand the past, to critique the present, and to create informed and critical interventions for a better future.

The way that we think about Liberal Arts here is again this idea of combining multiple different subjects, multiple different areas, into one really great programme that will give you the skills to acquire additional knowledge in subjects that you find interesting, to put those together, and to produce original knowledge and research. That's why for us, advanced undergraduate research is really core in our programme. It's something that's absolutely central and it's something we train students to do from Year One. Right from the beginning of your time with us, we will be training you to think critically like researchers. Many of our students, especially in their final years, are operating at what I would say is Master's level because they've been trained to think critically as researchers, to produce original research.

The way that we do this is through all kinds of different sorts of pedagogical approaches. One is that we have methods training modules in the first year. So in the first year you can choose between Quantitative Methods or Qualitative Methods (or if you're really dorky like me and you like methods, you can take both!). We have research for weekly seminars, so quite often your homework will not just be to read a textbook, it'll be go out and conduct some research on this topic, which lets you practice doing research throughout the entire year, throughout your entire degree. We also bake research into our assessment design. One of the things that our students find really shocking and really terrifying is at the end of the first year we often tell them 'okay go and write a research paper on something you care about'. They say well 'where's the essay question?' Well... there isn't one! You have to come up with your own question and that can be terrifying and scary, but what we do is we try to scaffold the students so that when they get to that point they're able to ask those questions, they're able to think about how to design their own assessments, how to design their own research projects. This prepares them for the Final Year year-long dissertation where you write 10,000 words around a topic that you really find interesting, that matters to you, using different disciplinary perspectives.

In addition, we also have lots of opportunities for students to present their research. Many of our students every single year take part in different research conferences, in submitting articles to the Reinvention journal (which is an undergraduate journal), Warwick hosts a number of these conferences. Warwick has been one of the key players in the International Conference of Undergraduate Research and we actually have several Liberal Arts students (three I think) next week who are presenting at this International Conference of Undergraduate Research (ICUR). Elvire, you're presenting something, do you want to tell us a little bit about it?

Elvire, Liberal Arts student >> Yes sure, so actually my pathway that as I mentioned earlier is in Life Sciences, so this summer I really wanted to do more research in Life Sciences. I've worked alongside a Professor in Biology and I was working on plant hormones and plant proteins that I had to purify. So for ICUR I'm going to present this research and it's a lot of fun. You're basically put in a group with lots of different researchers - undergraduate researchers - that are from different disciplines and you're put in a group with a team, so mine is Ecosystems. It's amazing, each person has 10 minutes to present and we all present our own research and you get to learn so much about things you don't really know. Everyone's really friendly, very welcoming, and it's very cool. There's an app where all the presentations are. It's quite an experience and it's a lot of fun. I've really enjoyed it so far.

Dr Bryan Brazeau, Director of Undergraduate Studies >> That's great, thanks so much Elvire. I think one of the really exciting things about these conferences is that quite often when people think of research conferences they think of professors, they think of postgraduate students, Master students, PhD students, presenting. The idea of undergraduate research is a radical idea. The idea that undergraduates can produce their own original research is not something you find in every department, it's not something you find at every university. It's something that I think our students really demonstrate incredibly well: that they're able to not only think critically, think in interdisciplinary ways, but to really produce original research around a topic that they care about and then present that at a conference. In terms of employability skills, this is something that is so great. We'll talk a little bit more about employability as we get on in the slides.

If you want support for your research, we also have funding to support your research. There's the Undergraduate Research Support Scheme which exists across the University where you can get funding to conduct research over the summer. There's also student funding in the School for Cross-faculty Studies. There are different competitions that we'll have, but students can apply for funding to conduct research. If you need funding to conduct interviews, for example, we'll help you with the ethical clearance and we can sometimes provide additional funding to help with that.

Now at this point, we've talked a bit about our teaching, we've talked about what Liberal Arts is, we've talked about what research is, you might be asking yourself 'well okay, that's really nice but what am I actually going to take? What are the courses like? What modules do I take?' Thought you'd never ask! The way that we structure this degree is that 50% of the degree course is really set up with us (the Liberal Arts Department) and the reason why we do that is because we're trying to train you with different skills to help you think critically, to help you put together all the information you'll be acquiring in your degree by taking modules in Life Sciences, Psychology, Sociology, History, English, Italian... you name it! If you just took those modules altogether you would end up with an intellectual 'pick-and-mix' bag. You wouldn't really know how to put them together, it'd be really confusing.

What we do here in Liberal Arts is we try and give you the skills, especially the theoretical skills, that you'll need to make sense of putting together these different types of knowledge and in conducting your own research. We also try and serve as a home for all of our students. We have our own dedicated lounge, we have our own spaces which is really nice. Our students feel a sense of belonging to the department, which is why we keep core modules in every year of the Liberal Arts degree. 50% of your degree is with us (the Liberal Arts Department), and 50% is outside with the University. In the first year, you will take modules that we call 'Key Problems'.

The first module is 'Truth and Misinformation', this is one that I teach. It's a lot of fun, we really talk about what knowledge is, we talk about what reality is, we really kind of dissect how knowledge itself is produced, but then we also look at misinformation. How is misinformation communicated by the media? How do we see that today? We look at contemporary news stories, we look at Instagram, we look at algorithms, we'll be looking at Tik Tok this year. We really try and think about what is truth in the 21st Century, what is it in our digital media world? Students really enjoy it, the assessments for that are really varied. They include making your own video documentary which is really quite cool. Ellen, you were in the earlier version of 'Truth and Misinformation' (which we used to call 'Science, Society, and the Media'). How did you find it last year? Was there anything that you really enjoyed, any assessments that really stood out to you?

Ellen, Liberal Arts student >> I really enjoyed the module, there were points to it that it was like the most mind-blowing module I think in terms of there was a lot of sometimes quite difficult concepts, but I think it did a really good job of breaking it down across the weeks and going through it and making sure we understood. One of the main questions, was just sort of 'do you believe in reality?' And we're all a bit like... we don't know! But once you've sort of went through it and looked at theories and did more reading around it, it started to make sense and really helps you understand. You can't watch the news in the same way again, I'm always trying to pick parts out of it!

Assessment wise in this module, there were lots of variety. I really enjoyed creating the film, that was really cool because that was just a chance to get more creative and try and find ways to merge ideas, whether it was reflecting it. But then I really enjoyed as well, with the research paper at the end of the module that I got to do (it's likely still the same but it might be different), I got to write, I got to choose sort of what I wanted to write about a bit based on the module and I wrote about Star Wars which was really good fun! So there was a lot of chance to learn and apply it to lots of different things which was really interesting.

Dr Bryan Brazeau, Director of Undergraduate Studies >> Excellent, thanks so much for that. Your paper on Star Wars was so interesting, I really enjoyed that! In your first year, you have to take 'Truth and Misinformation'. That's your one core module, that's the one that all the (Liberal Arts) students take. You also take 'Principles and Praxis' which sounds really boring, but it's some of our students' favourite module and I'll tell you why. With Principles and Praxis, you literally have to show up, you show up and you pass the module. There are no assessments, it's zero credits, it's literally just in your first term to help ease you into university. It's one of the easiest modules you'll ever take.

Then you have a choice in terms of your core modules between whether you want to choose 'Beauty' or 'Revolution'. These are both one-term modules and the 'Revolution' module is a sort of new version of our 'Art and Revolution' module which really looks at the relationship between power and art. How do revolutions function? How do they function in history? What do they have to do in terms of society and how do revolutions change the way that we think about power? If you're more politically/social science minded, that's something that you might really enjoy.

The 'Beauty' module is a new module that we're introducing and that's going to be a really interesting module where we're actually going to look at the question of whether or not beauty is socially constructed. Is beauty an objective quality of the world as theologians and poets would have us think? Or is it something that's entirely the consequence of society? I can see people already thinking like 'oh wow this is a really complicated question!' That's exactly the point. In this module we'll be looking at issues of gender, we'll be looking at social media, we'll be looking at questions of body image, we'll be looking if people are interested at Renaissance portraiture, we'll be doing all kinds of really cool stuff. The point is it's meant to get you thinking, it's meant to get you debating, it's meant to get you to really to take a position on this issue and to learn how to research that and to support your position with evidence.

Then you can choose between 'Qualitative' or 'Quantitative' methods. Some students who want to do more quantitative things might take 'Quantitative Methods'. Others might take 'Qualitative'. You're welcome to take both if 'Beauty' and 'Revolution' don't appeal to you as concepts, you can take both 'Qualitative' and 'Quantitative'. But in general, you choose one of 'Beauty' and 'Revolution' and one of Qualitative and Quantitative.

The other half of your degree in your first year (60 credits) are taken from modules from across the University. This means you can take two full year modules in any other department, or you can take four one-term modules. This really gives you the opportunity in your first year to try out all sorts of things. If you want to take 'Introduction to Italian', for example, and you want to take a Psychology class, you can do that. You can really combine these things in your first year to really explore and see what you like.

In your second year we're going to have one core module which is 'Consuming Cultures' where we look at the concept of consumption as a sort of human drive. We look at how it functions within society, and we talk about different cultures of consumption from the 19th Century into the 20th Century. We look at advertising, we look at advertising theory, mass culture, etc. That runs for the full year. Elvire, you were in consumption last year, do you want to tell us a little bit about it?

Elvire, Liberal Arts student >> I really enjoy Consumption, especially the second term because it was in person (so last year the first term was online). I'm not necessarily interested in those kind of things, naturally I'm more into Life Sciences or Global Sustainable Development and so I really find it amazing to be able to study those, to be able to do such modules. I learned so much, I had never thought about consumption in such a way. Even I love the fact that we're able to choose our own question because it means I get to learn a lot about one particular topic that's really interesting. It's very interesting because so far even the modules that don't really attract me from the start, once I'm into them I'm like 'oh that's actually really interesting like I didn't know this!'. I'm always positively surprised with Liberal Arts modules in the end.

Dr Bryan Brazeau, Director of Undergraduate Studies >> Excellent, that's great, thanks so much. In Year Two you have the core module with all of your Liberal Arts cohort on Consuming Cultures and then you have to take between Year Two and your final year, three optional modules offered by the Liberal Arts Department and we have a whole range of these optional modules. Some examples include 'Utopia: Text, Theory, Practice', there's a module on Venice 'A Sustainable Serenissima' (we'll talk more about that when we look at the Venice programme). We have modules on Apocalypse, on Underworlds, on Paradises, on Quests, on Heroic Journeys, on Enchantment, on Exile, on Homecoming. There are all kinds of really interesting optional modules offered. There are quantitative optional modules looking at relationships and data and these are changing every year. You can choose when you want to take these three optional modules. You can take all three of them in year two, you can take all three of them in your final year, you can take one into your second year two in your final year etc. As long as you do three between your second and final year you'll have met those core requirements.

Then in your second and final year, the remainder of your modules come from your pathway or your route and we'll talk a bit about that difference in a moment when we get to the pathway and routes slide. The important thing to note is that you can choose a bespoke pathway and we'll work with you to come up with that title and that could be whatever you like. We've had students come up with really interesting specialist pathways, but we also have disciplinary routes. Your degree could say Liberal Arts 'with' a particular route. We'll talk a bit about that in a moment.

Then when you get to your final year, you have your undergraduate research project which is your long project/your dissertation. It's a year long and we provide all the support you need to help you really conduct amazing research. You give a dissertation, we do a viva with you (so a discussion about your research project). It really sets you up well for employment, for postgraduate study, for all kinds of amazing things. Then you can also take your optional modules in the final year as we mentioned, along with modules from your pathway.

Now I've been talking a lot about these optional modules and you might be thinking 'wait a minute, what exactly do you mean by optional modules?' Here's a quick list of just the optional modules that we offer in the Liberal Arts Department right now. These will change from year to year, but right now this is what we offer. You'll see there's a lot of different ones so there are ones on Underworlds which I teach (I'm happy to talk about that), Paradises, there's one on the Apocalyptic Imaginary, one on Utopias, Quantitative Research Methods, a Quantitative Research Project, two modules on the thematics of the Quest, we have new modules coming up on Designs, so we have a module on Designing Change, on Critical and Creative Arts and Humanities in the Digital Age. These modules are constantly shifting.

Along with these optional modules, we also offer the opportunity to go and study on-site in Venice with our School for Cross-faculty Studies Venice programme. These are short-term study abroad experiences, they're two-week intensive modules, and we offer two of them. The first is the 'Sustainable Serenissima' which is on water and the future of Venice where we look at sustainability in Venice today as a kind of crisis point. We talk about cultural sustainability, we look at social sustainability, the issues of depopulation, we look at rising sea levels, we do all kinds of really interesting field trips so students can really come to understand the many different interdisciplinary sustainability challenges facing Venice. We have a new module that we're offering for the first time this year also in Venice called 'Resistance and Representation'. In that module we're going to look at Venice as a site of interdisciplinary traditions of resistance. We're going to start by looking at resistance to over-tourism and then we'll go back in time and we'll look at the Venetian resistance to Fascism. We'll talk about Venetian feminists in the 1600s and then we're going to look at art and thought as forms of resistance coming all the way back up to present day and looking at massive art exhibitions like the Biennale in Venice as forms of resistance against the status quo, trying to foster social change through art and through thought. These Venice modules are really great because they're two weeks, they're intensive, but they're on-site. You actually go to Venice for them, we have lots of activities, site visits, a lot of the homework is to literally go out to this space, observe something, do something, it's very active. The best part of this is that these modules count towards your final year of study. You would take these modules at the end of Year Two and then the 15 credits (or 30 credits if you do both modules) would count towards your final year of study which gives you more time in your final year to work on your dissertation, to work on job applications, to work on applications for postgraduate study, etc. Again, I'm happy to answer any questions about these modules.

The other part of the degree are the pathways and the routes which I've been mentioning. That's the other 50% that you saw on the slides. If you like (and this is the most popular option with our students) you can build a bespoke pathway. This is entirely designed by you, but we will support you in designing it, we will help you think up a title, help you think through modules that could fit with this. This half of your degree would be focused on a particular pathway. We've had students come up with pathways in Advertising; Gender and Cultural Criticism; Black British Studies; Conflict, Culture, and Society; Health and Human Society; Imagination and Childhood Development; Social Justice; Sustainability. These are really great because you get to basically build your own degree. You can flexibly build your own degree as you go and then when you graduate you can say 'you know what, I took a number of modules that are all under this umbrella theme' which is really quite cool. Some people might be thinking 'oh well, if I do that will I really get into a Master's? I don't know, should I do a traditional discipline?' I can't speak for every Master's programme, but I can tell you that the student we had who came up with the 'Imagination and Childhood Development' pathway took modules from across the University. In their first year, they didn't quite know what they wanted to specialise in, but they knew that they were passionate about childhood education, translation, psychology, education, all sorts of different fields. They kept working on that, and ended up coming up with a brilliant dissertation on psychoanalysis and children's literature. That student then applied to the University of Cambridge, was offered four years full funding, and is now currently doing their PhD at Cambridge fully funded with this pathway they created themselves. These bespoke degrees can really have weight and can really be useful later on.

You might want to do a discipline, so you might say 'this Liberal Arts thing is nice but I want to kind of have some sort of basis in a discipline'. That's completely okay. If you do a disciplinary route, you need to spend at least 25% of your degree with one of our partner departments. You can do entirely 50% of your degree with them if you want, but you have to do at least 25% for it to count. This will let you develop subject-specific expertise and your route will actually be recognised in your degree title. This means that you would take Liberal Arts 'with' Classics, Liberal Arts 'with' Economics, Liberal Arts 'with' History, 'with' Life Sciences, and that will be in your degree title which is really exciting. To do that, all you have to do is 30 credits (so one full-year module) every year of study with those departments and they'll tell you which modules you need to take. What's nice about that is you can actually choose to say okay, I'm going to do 25% of my degree with this, so I'll have some specialty in here (your discipline), you'll have your Liberal Arts core modules, and you'll still have 25% of your degree to explore, to try different things, to put together different modules that still really speak to you and that you really find interesting. Even with this kind of disciplinary pathway, you still have some flexibility.

Before, I mentioned Problem-based Learning. What on earth is problem-based learning, right? It's this thing that sounds really cool. You might say 'wait, what is this? Why are we learning about problems?' Problem-based Learning is a really, really interesting way to teach. It's something that comes from medical schools in Canada and the idea of Problem-based Learning is really rather than bringing in a textbook saying memorise the textbook, tell me what the textbook says on the exam, which let's be honest is just incredibly boring! What Problem-based Learning does is it presents you with a real-world problem, a messy problem, a problem where the solution isn't obvious, where it's not just a yes or no question. What we do with Problem-based Learning is we get students to really engage in these problems in hands-on ways.

The way this might look is, for example, we might have an overarching issue. So you might have the theme of the module, consuming cultures, the overarching theme is consumption as an overall issue. Then, you might have a weekly problem. You might have a new problem every week. The problem in one week might be, if we focus on branding and advertising: in what ways and to what effect is consumption negotiated as a different system of signs? You then would have focus questions that would guide your research for that particular class and help you stimulate discussion. There might be different tasks, you might be in a group, and it might be that one of you needs to find a video that speaks to this, one of you needs to find some advertising that speaks to this, one of you needs to find a text etc. and you would bring all of that together and work as a group to answer and look at the problems through those lenses and then work in groups together to produce a response based on evidence. You use ideas, information from different sources, but you collaborate together, and the greatest thing about this is that as you proceed through the degree each person in your group is going to have different expertise. They're going to be based in different disciplines, they're going to be acquiring different expertise, so you're actually working with sort of micro experts in all these different fields putting this work together every single week to generate these responses and to learn how to navigate interdisciplinarity in a really hands-on way. It seems like a really bizarre way to teach, but students tend to enjoy it (at least I think so, Elvire and Ellen can back me up on this!). It's a very different way of teaching than most students are used to, but once you actually get used to it, it's a really, really advanced way of teaching. I like to think of it in the same way that we might teach, for example, postgraduate students, where we don't expect a particular answer from them. We're trying to teach them to formulate the right questions.

The other thing that we offer is lots of great opportunities for personal and professional development on the degree. We've already mentioned the short-term study abroad options you can do in Venice, but we also have a year-long study abroad. If you want to extend your degree by a year you can make your degree into a four-year degree instead of a three-year degree and you can study with one of our Liberal Arts partners in the Netherlands in Germany and Canada, or there are broad University partners all over the world. We can help you pick these partners, we can help you figure out where you want to go. Our partners, our Liberal Arts partnerships are really set up with other Liberal Arts institutions that we think are some of the best Liberal Arts institutions in the world, to allow you to really contextualise your degree on the international stage. We also have a range of different certificates that you can do. These are free to do, students can do them, these will go on your transcript and they're really useful for an employer to see. We have a Certificate in Digital Literacy, Coaching Practice, Professional Communication, Sustainability Consulting, and one in Carbon Literacy as well. The person who teaches the Professional Communication Certificate is my colleague, Bodrun Nahar, who does amazing work with employability with our students. Bodrun, I'll hand it over to you to talk about work placements and maybe to talk a bit about careers and progression and where our graduates go?

Bodrun, Employability and Placement Manager >> Lovely, thank you Bryan. Hi everyone, I am the Employability and Placements Manager for the Liberal Arts degree programme and I think my role is really an indication of how seriously the department takes employability in mind. My role is specifically designed to support you through that process and the reason for that is because it's great having a degree and it will give you so many skills and knowledge that you will need and that's how the degree has been designed. There's also that element of actually experiencing the world of work and I'm here to support you in helping you to achieve that.

My role is very varied, so it can be anything from providing you with advice and guidance on any matters related to employability. It could be that you haven't got a CV or it could be something a bit deeper in that you don't know what you want to do after you graduate. We have that kind of coaching session if you would like to arrive to that decision. I also work very closely with employers to actually build links with them to generate work placements for yourself so that you can start engaging with the world of work. Really what I would say is that the world of work is a great way to develop employability skills, but it starts way before that.

Bryan mentioned about (well not mentioned but talked in depth!) about our degree programme, the Liberal Arts degree programme and it is a really, really interesting one and I know it's very interesting for me to learn about it when I joined in the fact that you can actually design your degree. I think that in itself, just selecting Liberal Arts and taking that non-conventional option of designing your degree, already says something about you in terms of the qualities and attributes of you as a person, the fact that you are willing to explore. I think employers really, really find that an attractive attribute in Liberal Arts students and that's the reason why they want to engage with Liberal Arts students and we want to make sure that we are connecting employers with yourself and yourself with the employers.

We actually have two work placement options that you can undertake as part of your degree programme which gets acknowledged on your Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR). They don't necessarily affect your overall mark, but they are recognised so they will show up on your transcript so I'm just going to go through them. Bryan mentioned about the Certificate of Professional Communication. That is a professional development course that's designed and delivered by myself and it's very much designed to allow you to get a better understanding and exposure of the world of work. The issues that arise with it, how to navigate it, with a key link to communication as the major theme. What you do after you've completed that certificate is you then go out to work for an employer for a month and then you reflect on that learning as well. That's one of the options that are available to you and it's available to Year One and Year Two students.

The other option is the year-long placement which is (I know we'll talk about it more) but the year-long placement essentially is instead of you doing a three-year degree you do a four-year degree. In your third year you actually go out to work for an organisation for a minimal of seven up to 12 months. All the learning takes place in the employer's environment and then you reflect on that learning and again this is recognised on your HEAR but it doesn't affect your final degree classification but it shows up on your transcript.

These are the two options that we actually give to our Liberal Arts students and really encourage you to take part in. You may be wondering what can I go into? What is available to me? We've had Liberal Arts students go into a number of different work placements and that has varied from Sustainability Assistants, to working in marketing, working in copywriting, I mean it is really, really broad. The reason for that is because the degree programme actually develops your skills and employers are aware of this and because of that employers are interested so there are a number of different careers that are available to you. It's just something for you to know about and you will learn more about it as you do the degree.

I think this is also reflected in where our graduates go after they've finished their Liberal Arts degree. There are lots of different pathways when it comes to further studies, for example Applied Data Science to Law and the Legal Practice and it's really interesting. This is a really good example actually, Law and the Legal Practice, because we have students saying 'really, I could do Liberal Arts and go into Law?' and the answer is yes, we have our Liberal Arts students who are currently working as a lawyer. This is just really information for you and real data and hopefully assurance that by studying Liberal Arts it actually maximizes your chances of securing employment in a number of different fields, but also how attractive you are to employers. They could say well you've not done a Law degree, but they know that by studying Liberal Arts you've developed skills that will be relevant and they can train and develop you and I think that's the key thing that employers are looking for.

These are more examples of where our graduates go. Whenever I speak to our alumni, our students, and I'm surprised, like wow! I'm excited to learn where they're going but all of this is real data in terms of where our Liberal Arts students have gone into, so whether it's audit, whether you know working for big blue chip companies, to working as trainee solicitors, to sustainability advisors, really there is plenty of career paths that you can actually go into.

I think the key message here is that when you are doing a degree programme, engage with the programme as much as possible. The more you engage, the more skills you will develop. Take every opportunity to really create a rounded version of yourself and it's not just for employers, for work. I think we always refer to professional development in relation to the world of work, but actually it's for yourself. In order to access the world of work, and in order to make an informed decision about the world of work you need to develop yourself, you need to know yourself, your strengths and your limitations. This is what it does, the whole degree programme, in engaging with work placements, it's a process. It's a development process, a personal development process, that will support you in making informed decisions about your future that's right for you. This is exactly what our students have gone on to do.

All I would say and really end with here is to say when you come in come with an open mind, it's an exciting degree programme, and just remember whether it's in Bryan's capacity or my capacity we are here to support you through this transition, through this process. You are not on your own in any of the situations that you'll be faced with, you will not be on your own. The key is that you have to take ownership and responsibility in actually shaping your future. I hope that you would obviously join us and I really look forward to supporting each and every one of you and for now I'll pass you back onto Bryan. If you have any questions you can put it on the chat, or we've got the Question and Answers session later on. I'll pass you over to Bryan now.

Dr Bryan Brazeau, Director of Undergraduate Studies >> That's great, thanks so much Bodrun. It's great to hear you summarizing what a Liberal Arts education is from the employability perspective because one of the interesting things about a Liberal Arts education is it lets you 'know yourself'. That motto, 'know yourself', goes all the way back to the Oracle at Delphi in Ancient Greece, that's what was on the wall. The purpose of a Liberal Arts education is not just to train you for the world of work, it's not just to train you to be able to replicate what's in a textbook, it's to train you to have a broad-based education in something you care about and also to figure out where you want to make an impact on the world. That's one of the things this course can do and the flexibility in this course actually allows you to change and shape and to change that path as you go through university in a way that a lot of other courses will not allow you to do if you're strictly within let's say a History department or an Economics department or something like that. That makes you I think into much more of a well-rounded individual in a sense later on as a thought leader or a citizen or whatever else who's actively engaged on a global stage. It also makes you much more attractive to employers as Bodrun was saying.

I was also happy that Bodrun ended by talking about the community we have here in Liberal Arts. One of the really key aspects of a Liberal Arts education, and this is part of the Liberal Arts tradition and something we have very much here at Warwick, is that you can't do this in a vacuum. You can't just be growing and taking all these things and left to your own devices, that would be terrifying, that would be really scary. One of the things we really pride ourselves on here at Warwick especially in Liberal Arts is that we have a great community that really supports our students. Our students have commented a number of times on how they find the community and the support here is one of the best environments they've ever been in. We have a great personal tutoring system, we have our own dedicated Director of Student Experience, our personal tutors have won awards in the University for the best personal tutor in the University.

We have support and guidance for building your degree so that means that you're not alone when you're just choosing these modules. It's not like we give you a giant list of the modules and say 'okay pick and choose what you like.' You discuss these things with your personal tutor. We're looking out for your personal development, we try and ask you the right questions so you can really think about that critically and so that you can make the most of your time at University. That also means that if something goes wrong, if you have trouble, if you know anything happens and things will happen. I mean it's normal, change is difficult, University isn't always easy, we're there to support you. We're there to help you, we're there to help you navigate the University's policies, we're there to help you navigate the support the University offers, and we also have a really nice close-knit community of staff and students.

We're often physically in our offices, we have an open door policy so when students are here they can just come, they can knock on the door, they can pop in if they want to have a quick chat. We have lots of different academic events, we have social events, the Liberal Arts Society organises events. Next week is our Welcome Week for students. Within that Welcome Week, we have a number of social events for returning students we have a module registration breakfast which will help students with module registration. We really try and create this home base, this space from which you can learn and grow but you can always come back to as a sort of comfortable home.

In terms of entry requirements if you're now interested in the course and you're like 'hmm I'd like to apply for this' (hopefully you do!), we have a number of entry requirements. At A level we just look for AAA , we we also ask for grade C or grade four in English and math at GCSE, but we will make differential offers at ABB. If you think that 'oh I'm quite close to AAA, but I don't know if I'll get exactly that', please apply anyway. We really love to have passionate students, students who really want to study Liberal Arts and we would encourage you to put that in your personal statement. If you're taking the IB, we accept the IB at 36 points including English and Maths. We will make differential offers at 32 points that include English and Maths. We welcome applicants with students taking BTECs as well. We also welcome a number of different other internationally recognised qualifications, all you have to do is go to that website there: to see the different international entry requirements we have, or get in touch with us and we're happy to discuss those with you.

One thing to note is we do not have any specific subject requirements and the reason for that is because we want our students who come to us to have all kinds of different interests. We don't just want students who are only interested in Renaissance portraiture or Renaissance literature - gosh that would be so boring, right? Even though I love that, that would be really boring! We want a community of students who are passionate about all kinds of different things, who have all kinds of different views and approaches on the world, so that when you come together in the classroom you can all interchange those views. You can all grow and change and think about things differently in this really nice tight-knit community and that's really what's core to the Liberal Arts experience here at Warwick.

I think that's about it for me, thank you so much for coming to this session. I hope that this was helpful. If you have any questions now please feel free to ask them in the chat or to turn on your camera and microphone, we're happy to answer any questions you might have. Or, if you don't have any questions you're welcome to take a break and come and join us at the Questions and Answers Session at 2 pm. If you're around and you're able to visit campus we have space on our Open Days that are coming up on Saturday the 8th and the 22nd of October, we would love to see you there. It's a great opportunity not just to hear more about the programme but also to try out a Taster Session, to see what the campus looks like to see our building (the Ramphal Building), to see the student lounge etc.

I hope that this was helpful, thank you all so much for coming, thank you to all the other speakers, thank you to Bodrun, Ellen, Elvire, and Jess. If you have any questions, please post them in the Room Chat or you're welcome to come back at 2 pm and ask them the Questions and Answers period. Thank you so much everybody!