Dr Celia Brigg, Advance HE Associate Director, welcomed ‘day 1 delegates’ to Advance HE’s annual Teaching and Learning Conference (T&L) yesterday at Northumbria University, Newcastle. The conference is the first primarily face-to-face T&L conference since 2019, with other delegates from around the world welcomed online. More than 650 individual delegates will join the conference in-person for a daily keynote, over 300 sessions, ‘Ignite’ talks, panels and poster presentations.
In her opening address, Dr Brigg said, “The focus on enhancing all aspects of teaching and learning remains a critical issue for those seeking to provide an outstanding student experience at all levels of taught provision.”
The Teaching and Learning Conference 2022 positions the spotlight firmly on teaching in a global context, exploring, “how we are enhancing student success through all aspects of the student experience including transitions, curriculum design and development, enterprise and employability, assessment, engagement and inclusion, sustainability and much more.”
She encouraged delegates to engage in creative thinking around teaching and learning towards continuous enhancement and innovation of the student experience.
Day 1 Keynote
Dr Brigg introduced Shakira Martin, Head of Student Experience, Rose Bruford College and former NUS President whose focus was on inclusion. She opened her presentation reflecting that her personal motivation is that make sure that education is accessible and sustainable for all; and that lockdown had provided a rare opportunity for all of us to, “stop – [use the] silence – and reflect” on how we make our institutions more inclusive.
She called for a much greater understanding of the student demographic and students’ characteristics, and particularly of those in poorer or more deprived areas to encourage their access to education. She said, “You have a lot of working class people coming into university, we've got more black people coming into university…but do they really have the means and the opportunity to do so?”
She pointed to institutions needing to “work in partnership with colleges and schools to be able to build a pipeline where students can feel comfortable and to be able to progress and see themselves as a university student.” Universities, she argued, needed to have a deeper connection with their local communities to understand the challenges and barriers to potential students engaging in higher education so that they can visualise themselves as university students and “be given hope”.
Shakira highlighted the dynamic nature of promoting inclusion and that it is constantly changing; and that the expression ‘student experience’ was inadequate, implying that “everybody has the same experience…when actually there are multiple different experiences.”
She left delegates with this final quote: “If you put yourself in a position where you have to stretch outside your comfort zone, then you will be forced to expand your consciousness.”
Today’s keynote (Wednesday 6 July) will be delivered by Professor Jeff Grabill, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Student Education, University of Leeds.