Developing a closer link between research and teaching has become an important way to enhance the quality of higher education. This not only means that our teaching needs to be informed by research but also that it should be research-led and oriented. A research-led teaching environment will empower undergraduate students as project co-creators and co-researchers. This will result in the development of higher order skills, such as critical enquiry and engagement, methodological approach to problem solving, effective communication of complex concepts as well as creating a sense of belonging and student satisfaction.
However, creating a synergy between research and teaching is challenging. One way to achieve this goal is to enhance the involvement of postgraduate research students. Their skills, expertise, experiences and knowledge can not only inform the content of a curriculum based on current and cutting edge research, but they can also share their discipline specific skills, transferable skills, and generic research skills. This will enhance the delivery of skills, such as critical reviewing, research methods, recognising research problems and using a growth mind-set.
Therefore, the aim of this project is to use skill mapping exercises to capture the entirety of the research and generic skills, interests and areas of knowledge of a diverse range of WMS PGR students and to aim to employ the identified skills and knowledge into delivering a new BSc course that has been developed at WMS. This strategy not only will help to develop a truly research-led undergraduate course and close the gap between research and teaching but it will also help the PGR community to foster a sense of belonging. It will provide the PGRs an exceptional opportunity for personal growth and development, and to have confidence that they can use all of their skills and experiences to inform teaching and learning. PGRs can contribute in the form of participation in module planning working groups, delivery of materials, curriculum alignment planning, resource creation or assessment/evaluation resources. Education and training in the form of mentoring and leadership will be provided for PGRs in these fields as required, with links also made to the centrally offered APP PGR as appropriate.