Another 5 Years: How the Centres for Excellence in Teaching & Learning rewired pedagogy in UK Higher Education.

This source preferred by Richard Berger

Authors: Berger, R.

Start date: 19 October 2010

In 2005 the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) designated 96 subject areas across Higher Education as Centres for Excellence in Teaching & Learning (CETL). Each CETL was funded for 5 years with a clear mission to promote the scholarship of teaching and learning within their own subject areas, departments, institutions and beyond. It was hoped that each CETL would significantly influence the scholarship of teaching and learning of its subject throughout England.

One such CETL is The Centre for Excellence in Media Practice (CEMP). This Centre is based at the largest provider of media education in the UK, Bournemouth University. This paper reports back on the achievements of CEMP as it comes to the end of its funding, and examines the influence it has had on its host institution, the staff that work there and the teaching of media nationally.

For 5 years, CEMP has promoted the scholarship of teaching and learning in media education by developing new online masters programmes for media professionals and those that teach ‘subject media’ in schools, colleges and universities. CEMP has created online learning tools which are now used widely across the sector and in industry, as well as funding individual staff development projects within the Media School at Bournemouth. CEMP established an enviable guest lectureship scheme for all staff and students and hosted regular learning and teaching seminars for staff as well as initiating regular ‘media debates’ on current topics for both staff and students. CEMP also funded a series of ‘practitioners in residence’ to support all aspects of media production, from journalism to computer animation.

As the funding comes to an end in 2010, this paper will outline CEMP’s next 5 years, a time when the Centre must become both self-sufficient and maintain its position as a leader in teaching and learning for media education. This paper will provocatively posit that the main lesson learned from the CETL initiative is that the more successful Centres could be viewed as a new organisational model in Higher Education; the CETLs in effect became a site for struggle for a more strategic focus on teaching - rather than research – and therefore effectively reconfigured the relationship teachers now have with their subjects and their students their research.

The CETLs then, in many regards, have rewired the scholarship of teaching and learning into the agendas of many universities in the UK - which were perhaps more subject specific in their outlook. The CETLs did not just promote teaching and learning in their subject areas, but they became advocates for all aspects of pedagogy.

Finally, this paper will outline CEMP’s next 5 years which include the establishment of a new peer-reviewed journal, a national conference and the continued funding of PhD students which will ensure CEMP’s future as it reorganises its activities around the key themes of access, entitlement and new pedagogies.

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