As part of the implementation of the Education strategy, Chris Hughes (Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Education) and the Education Executive were keen to understand more about teaching and learning-themed comments made by teaching colleagues in Warwick's 2017-18 Pulse staff survey.
Some of the key themes – and subsequent local and institutional responses – are outlined below:
Pulse respondents called for the importance of personal tutoring to be recognised. Following the Personal Tutoring Review, a personal tutoring Code of Practice has been developed, which includes a new award for personal tutoring excellence (WAPTE). In addition, personal tutoring work is now recognised within the new academic promotions framework.
Concern was raised about the standard of teaching facilities in Westwood and the Centre for Lifelong Learning (CLL). These comments have been taken on board – the Westwood teaching centre was upgraded last summer, and CLL will be upgraded during 2019.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
Pulse respondents asked for further CPD opportunities – as a result, the Teaching and Learning team has recently extended its CPD provision to all colleagues who are engaged in teaching. The renamed Academic Development Programme offers workshops for colleagues at every stage of their career, and the accredited Academic and Professional Pathway for Teaching Excellence (APP TE) programme, which is a requirement within the academic probation process, is now also available to teaching-focused colleagues at the equivalent career stage.
Warwick Foundation Studies (WFS)
91% of survey respondents from the more recently established Warwick Foundation Studies (WFS) department shared their views and suggestions. Key issues raised related to lack of recognition and understanding about the department; communications; split-site teaching; and disconnect from wider University.
The WFS leadership team has taken steps to address these comments, including:
supporting colleagues to teach part time in other departments;
sharing best practice and discipline knowledge;
joining faculty and University-level committees to promote the department;
encouraging colleagues to engage in the wider University;
organising WFS eligibility for Higher Education Academy (HEA) fellowship.
Teaching observations were generally viewed as a positive move to recognise and share good practice, but uptake is currently low across Warwick. In response to this, a Warwick International Higher Education Academy (WIHEA) peer observation ‘learning circle’ has been set up. Participants share examples of good practice both in terms of increasing uptake and the forms of observation and peer review.
So far, the learning circle has conducted a review of subject literature and a benchmarking exercise to map current practice at Warwick and at other institutions, as well as an analysis of the merits of different approaches and staff attitudes. The team is now drafting an outline proposal with recommendations being made to the Student Learning Experience and Engagement Committee (SLEEC), and has promoted the learning circle via the Teaching Excellence Group process this year, with additional engagement as a result.