Taking Teaching and Learning Seriously

27 February 2008
4th Universitas 21 Teaching & Learning conference with twelve leading research-led universities represented from Asia, Australasia, Europe and the Americas establishing a strong Teaching & Learning network.

With research-led universities garnering much criticism in recent months for being too research-focussed, Universitas 21 was delighted to have the opportunity to show that its members are taking Teaching and Learning as seriously as research in its 4th international Conference on the subject.

Participants represented Australasia, Europe, Asia and the Americas in the two-day conference hosted by the University of Glasgow from 21-22 February.

The conference focussed around two key themes – Internationalisation and The First Year Experience – and with highly-regarded keynote speakers from around the world (Dr Diana Oblinger, CEO of EDUCAUSE; Dr Marcia Devlin, University of Melbourne; Professor Kerri-Lee Krause, Griffith University and Professor Ron Piper, St Andrews University) stimulated a great deal of discussion, debate and enthusiasm.

With over 70 participants, a great deal of common ground was found and projects are now being formulated by the conference’s academic leads, Professor Andrea Nolan of the University of Glasgow and Dr Philip Nolan of University College Dublin, to take ideas and collaborations forward within the Universitas 21 network and run alongside the research projects which are already high on the network’s agenda.

Speaking after the conference, one delegate from Lund University in Sweden commented “We have a hard time figuring out how research intensive institutions with their specific research profile actually can add to the student experience, but this is certainly a promising step in doing this and bringing teaching and learning higher up the agenda.”

Jane Usherwood, Secretary General of Universitas 21 welcomed the opportunity to share thinking on teaching and learning innovations in a global context saying “U21 members are all research-intensive in nature while still recognising the importance of the student experience and sound innovative pedagogy. Conferences such as this, our fourth on teaching and learning, give the opportunity to learn from and with colleagues and provide opportunities for future collaboration - this is another step on that journey.”

This was the fourth U21 conference looking at Teaching & Learning, but the first to include delegates from a variety of disciplines and posts. The outcomes and future proposals linked to this conference will be available on the Universitas 21 website in the coming weeks.