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Advance HE’s three-day annual Teaching and Learning Conference puts teaching in the spotlight to shape the future of HE

05 Jul 2023 | Advance HE 2023 conference at Keele University is themed ‘Teaching in the spotlight: Shaping the future of HE’.

Delegates from 16 countries were welcomed by Professor Kristyan Spelman Millar, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Keele University, to a packed programme on day one of Advance HE’s Teaching and Learning Conference 2023. The conference features 213 oral presentations, 68 poster presentations, 40 workshops, three keynotes and three panel sessions over three days.

Flexible learning

The first keynote was delivered by Professor Danielle George, Associate Vice President (Teach, Learn and Students) from The University of Manchester where she is professor of engineering. Her focus was the University’s flexible learning strategy which commits to “embedding lifelong flexible learning that is inclusive, accessible and international.”

Emerging from the pandemic, she explained, “it was clear that the sector's pre-pandemic vision of increased flexibility was more important than ever…students expect an education that prepares them for this increasingly flexible digital interconnected world fund.” The challenge was for the University to “think differently about what we offer and how we deliver it” and to do it at scale. The approach, the rollout of which has included an 18-month staff and student engagement programme, is underpinned by four pillars:

Pace, Place, pathway practice

It was a strategy that required the need “to think differently” into how the University designs and delivers courses and programmes:

Flexible payways

Find out more about The University of Manchester's Flexible Learning Strategy here

Sustainable Institutions

Among the over 60 presentations and workshops was the emerging results of research from an Advance HE Collaborative Development Fund, in which Dr Alina Congreve from  Wellcome Trust and Dr Iain Cross, London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, shared some early insights into the Sustainable Institutions project: Exploring strategic approaches to embedding sustainability’.

Working through a literature review and case studies with five universities they discussed a working model for a sustainable university and some of the themes coming from the project case studies:

Whole university approach
Institution case st & emerging themes

Fellowship and ESD

Elsewhere, the Advance HE Fellowship and Accreditation team led a workshop about the  Professional Standards Framework for teaching and supporting learning in higher education (PSF 23) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

Louise Lumsden, Head of Fellowship at Advance HE, explained that ESD was identified as an emerging area of practice to be included in the revised PSF in phase one of the consultation, but that in phase two, its inclusion as an integrated part of the framework received very low support (Professional Standards Framework for teaching and supporting learning in higher education: report of the review 2021-2023, p.8), although she said it was recognised that it should be an important element of the guidance. 

Advance HE is committed to supporting practice in this area, and the workshop set out to explore how Education for Sustainable Development could be incorporated and developed as a resource to support both institutions and individuals who use the PSF 2023.

Insights from conference delegates will contribute to the enhancement of guidance and development of a key resource such as a toolkit to ensure that applicants are able to recognise and draw on examples from their practice as part of their work to embed key principles of Education for Sustainable Development whilst making a claim for fellowship. The guidance is expected to be published later in 2024.

Advance HE membership

Advance HE was delighted to welcome delegates from 15 nations outside the UK, including the President of Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi (RMUTT), Associate Professor Dr Sommai Pivra-Art. We are very pleased that the University used this occasion to join as an Advance HE Access Member.

New access member RMUTT

The Conference continues today and tomorrow (5-6 July). The full programme is available here.

Our new Teaching and Learning for Student Success portfolio for 2023-24 provides opportunities to celebrate best practice and development to support the achievement of sustainable teaching excellence. Find out more 

Members benefit from a 25% discount on booking prices and there is an additional 10% early booking discount for bookings made before 30 September 2023 on selected programmes and events.


We feel it is important for voices to be heard to stimulate debate and share good practice. Blogs on our website are the views of the author and don’t necessarily represent those of Advance HE.

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