Part 1 - Orientation
This project was designed to address strategic needs at both institution and sector level, to provide a platform and trigger for future efforts to integrate EfS into future thinking and practice around quality assurance and enhancement in the curriculum. It operated through two main arms:
SECTOR LEVEL COMPONENTS: DIALOGUE & DEVELOPMENT WORK
The core team used three approaches to engage in consultation and development work, to take sector level perspective on all aspects of the project:
EXPERT ADVISORY BOARD
Aim: to steer the project in its understanding and its aim to influence the sector landscape, providing stakeholder perspectives from HE, civic and business leaders
SECTOR AGENCY COLLABORATIONS
Aim: to consult with sector agencies with oversight of quality agendas and the management of formal academic quality frameworks (QAA, HEA)
CRITICAL FRIENDS GROUP
Aim: to source advice for the institutional pilot projects from experts in sustainability education in Higher Education, with expertise across different subject areas, from education development units and relevant professional bodies
5 HEI PILOT PROJECTS
Each pilot worked with their institutions to progress changes through different aspects of Quality Assurance (QA) & Quality Enhancement (QE):
QA POLICY & FRAMEWORKS:
- QA Handbooks and Guidance
- Course Review and Validation
- New Course Proposals
QA PROCESSES & SYSTEMS:
- Review and Validation Panels
- Curriculum Monitoring Audits
- Academic Staff CPD Provision
- Institutional T&L Strategies
- Generic T&L Guidance Materials
- Work with Senior QA & QE Staff
QE DEPARTMENT LEVEL:
- Consultations - Teaching Teams
- Subject Guidance Materials
- Sessions with Academic Staff
An outline summary of the functions and activities around the main sector dialogue mechanisms for the project can be viewed here.
The five pilot projects were each led by a representative member of staff at that institution, with these colleagues forming the core project team:
|University of Gloucestershire||Leads: Professor Daniella Tilbury, Dr Alex Ryan|
|Aston University||Lead: Dr John Blewitt|
|University of Brighton||Leads: Professor Marie Harder, Pauline Ridley|
|Exeter University||Lead: Harriet Sjerps-Jones|
|Oxford Brookes University||Lead: Professor Martin Haigh|
The initial plans for each of the five individual pilot projects were developed by the project leads, in consultation with senior managers and key colleagues at each institution.
Biographies of the core team members can be viewed here.
At the initial scoping stage of the project, the team engaged in a visioning exercise to set the parameters and principles that would underpin their work to progress EfS in the context of quality. This resulted in a shared agreement on the four key dimensions that should inform both the pilot work and sector activities:
Dimensions of Quality in EfS
An initial scoping discussion in the project team affirmed that its view of quality, guided by EfS principles, would span four dimensions:
- Students/learner (and graduate profiles)
- Educators/teachers (and their competences)
- Institutional setting (and university autonomy)
- Externality (including sector agencies)
The project would be successful in line with this framework if its outputs and findings connected with the quality system in all these four aspects.
The central principle for enhancing quality through EfS was understood in the notion of ‘connected practice’ – connecting theory and practice, connecting practice within institutions, connecting learning and values, and connecting HE with civic and global responsibilities.
The project was carried out in three main phases, with the following function and span of work:
Phase 1 – October 2010-February 2011:
PLANNING & CONSULTATION
Consultation with sector agencies and expert advisors; development of plans for pilot work within partner institutions; initial presentations at key forums.
Phase 2 –March 2011-April 2012:
Implementation of pilot projects; initial Expert Advisory Board meeting; series of meetings with the Quality Assurance Agency; further conference workshops.
Phase 3 – May 2012-September 2012:
ANALYSIS & DISSEMINATION
Completion of institutional pilot work and team writing workshop; national project conference; final Expert Advisory Board meeting; production of outputs.
The key activities undertaken during each phase are shown in the project diagram which can be viewed here.