Learning and teaching projects launched at QAA conference

Learning and teaching projects

A series of Learning and Teaching projects aimed at enhancing the quality of support for students coming to and studying at Heriot-Watt University were launched at the annual Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Enhancement Theme conference hosted at the Edinburgh Conference Centre last week.

The 9th QAA Enhancement Themes conference on 7-8 March 2012 welcomed over 300 delegates from across Scotland to the James Watt Centre, Heriot-Watt University. The primary focus of the conference was the new QAA Enhancement Theme, 'Developing and Supporting the Curriculum', which has been selected by the Scottish Higher Education sector to promote the collective development and sharing of new ideas and models of innovation in learning and teaching, thereby improving the student learning experience at Scottish universities.

Thematic areas and projects

At Heriot-Watt University, three thematic areas - internationalisation, direct entry induction, and employability/scholarship enhancement, were selected for project development supported by an institutional Enhancement Theme grant from the QAA and in alignment with the University's Learning and Teaching Strategy. The projects include topics such as:

  • Improving study induction for international students  
  • Improving induction for direct entry students  
  • Learning support for international postgraduate students  
  • Improving access to Library services for distance learning students  
  • Heriot-Watt Social and Environmental Report  
  • CEMENT mentoring programme for PG Students  
  • The path to professional recognition  
  • Key employability skills embedded in the curriculum  
  • Embedding employability and professional career readiness into the undergraduate curriculum

Joining Dr Sue Mathieson, Academic Enhancement Co-ordinator, to give a presentation about the Heriot-Watt projects at the QAA Conference were Marion Kennedy, School of Life Sciences Subject Librarian, Dr Marilyn Higgins, Senior Lecturer and Director of Quality, School of Built Environment, and Dr Thereza Raquel Sales de Aguiar, Lecturer in Accounting, School of Management & Languages. Commenting on the extent of involvement in the projects from staff and students across the University, Dr Mathieson said, "I am delighted to have been involved in the early stages of this work in bringing staff from the Schools of Management and Languages, Built Environment, Engineering and Physical Sciences, and Mathematical and Computer Sciences together with representatives from key services including the Library, Careers and Student Services. The multi-disciplinary nature of the projects will bring about a rich understanding of the issues that are important to our students and is how we can truly enhance the service we offer them".

Potential synergies between the projects will continue to be fostered as they continue to develop throughout 2012 via joint meetings of the Enhancement Theme Group at Heriot-Watt University Congratulating the project participants on their initiative in leading and developing the Enhancement projects, Heriot-Watt University's Deputy Principal for Learning and Teaching, Prof John Sawkins, said: "By drawing on the expertise of staff from different Schools and professional service areas, these projects promise to generate a wide range of ideas for curriculum development and support applicable across the whole University."