Teaching and Learning

Quality in Teaching conference

Wednesday 23rd March 2015
Physics Building, University Park campus

In recognition of the changing shape of Quality Assurance in the sector, and the government's plans to introduce a Teaching Excellence Framework, and the 2016 University Teaching conference will address the issue of defining and measuring "quality" in university education.

Our first plenary speaker, Professor Annette Cashmore, will address the challenge of defining quality and evaluating the various proxies that are used in attempts to show evidence of the quality of teaching, teachers, or learning in HE. Our second plenary speaker, Professor Gina Wisker, will address the scholarship of teaching and its value for practitioners.

The remainder of the day will be devoted to discussion on how concepts of quality relate to our own practice in planning and undertaking teaching, collecting and using student feedback, and evidencing quality for reward and recognition.


9.15am Registration

9.45am Welcome from Professor Sarah O'Hara

10.00am Opening keynote

Quality in teaching, teachers and learning in HE
Professor Annette Cashmore, University of Leicester
Professor Cashmore has recently co-authored an HEA publication on Promoting teaching: making evidence count.


The dominance of the recognition of research over teaching in higher education institutions is anecdotally well-established, as are sector-wide attempts to address the issue.

Professor Cashmore's pedagogical research includes the "Reward and recognition of teaching in higher education" project, a collaboration between the Higher Education Academy and the University of Leicester’s GENIE Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL).

The aim of the project was to look at the evidence and to make some practical suggestions about what can be done about the research/teaching recognition imbalance. One outcome from the project was a framework intended for institutions to adopt and adapt to their particular context. The framework considers three perspectives on teaching evidence:

  1. scope of activity, from interaction with students, through curriculum development, scholarship and leadership;
  2. sphere of influence, within and beyond the department and the discipline;
  3. source of evidence, including students, peers and personal accounts

The framework sets out how of evidence of successful activity derived from the sources can be mapped to the range of activities undertaken in the widening spheres of influence.

Annette has advised on the implementation of the framework to institutional policies and procedures in relation to reward and recognition of teaching contributions. Where it has been implemented it has been welcomed by both applicants and committees for offering clarity to support planning and evaluation. This work is timely as interest in the quality of the overall student experience still grows.

Since 2003, Professor Cashmore has been Sub Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences at the University of Leicester. In 2005 she wrote a successful bid to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) for £4.85 million to establish a Centre for Excellence for Teaching and Learning in Genetics and she is currently Director of this initiative.


11.00am Tea

11.30am Parallel sessions on the student perception of quality

SET and SEM: rethinking what we're asking
Prof Katharine Reid, CHemistry
Dr Andrew Fisher PFHEA, Humanities
Dr Amanda Avery SFHEA, Biosciences

The student perspective is a critical component in the evaluation of teaching, but relies on students being fully engaged in the evaluation process.  The University has recently introduced Evaluate, the new in-class electronic SET/SEM questionnaire delivery system, and it is important to consider whether the questions that we are using are telling us what we need to know, both in terms of improving the teaching of individuals, and in terms of enabling the University to make comparisons across disciplines. This session will give participants the chance to discuss the principles we should be using in developing student evaluation questionnaires, and to define what the capabilities of the Evaluate software should include.

Workshop: How can effective personal tutoring enhance the student experience?
Dr Pam Hagan SFHEA, Medicine
Dr Gabriele Neher SFHEA NTF, Humanities
Dr Alison Mostyn SFHEA, Health Sciences


In this interactive workshop, we will explore models of best practice in personal tutoring, student support and development, and the benefits for students.  Strategies for effective personal tutoring for the University of Nottingham will be developed, alongside methods by which they can effectively be incorporated into every stage of the student’s journey.

Learning Outcomes

  • Increased knowledge of effective personal tutoring
  • Enhanced personal tutoring practice
  • Strategies to encourage student’s personal development
  • Increased understanding of the different stages of the student journey
  • Increased understanding of the direction of personal tutoring at the University of Nottingham

Pam is the University’s Senior Tutor and has responsibility for overseeing the development of appropriate support for students. She is also an Associate Professor in Endocrinology and a Disability Liaison Officer in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Gaby is the University’s Deputy Senior Tutor. She is a National Teaching Fellow and has received three Lord Dearing Awards, a Student Oscar and a Chancellor Award. Her teaching in Humanities is closely connected to her research and she draws on technology to help investigate events and objects that no longer exist.

Alison Mostyn is a Lecturer in Biological Sciences for Health and is deputy editor of Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. She underpins her teaching with sound pedagogy and enjoys developing innovative methods for delivering lectures, practicals and workshops. Wherever possible she shares best practice through publications, most recently on the use of podcasting and audience response technology.


The National Student Survey: an analysis
Dr Andrew Hindmarsh, Head of Planning
Dr Anne Felton SFHEA, Health Sciences


The National Student Survey runs each year, asking final year students about their experience at their University. The results tell us about their perceptions, and they also inform various league tables that rank Nottingham against competitors in the Russell Group and across the sector.

In this session Andrew will share some of the results of the 2015 Survey. All staff have access to an NSS modeller, available via the Strategy Support Centre that can be used to explore an individual School's data in some depth - this will be highlighted at the session.

There is some evidence that student perceptions and NSS scores have been affected in similar ways across the university by similar interventions and these will be noted before exploring the idea that a possible root cause of satisfaction lies in a good relationship between staff and students in a range of teaching and support contexts.

Likely future developments of the NSS will also be outlined and participants will have the opportunity to reflect how this might affect local development strategies.

Andrew came to Nottingham in 1999 to lead the newly formed Policy & Planning Unit and is now Head of Planning within the expanded Strategy, Planning & Support division. His responsibilities include strategic policy and decision support in relation to teaching funding, tuition fees, the student population, performance indicators and league tables, and management oversight of the planning & institutional reporting, market intelligence and survey teams.

Anne Felton is a lecturer in mental health at the School of Health Sciences at The University of Nottingham. Anne has led the delivery of mental health education as program lead on the Masters of Nursing Science and coordinated modules across the undergraduate nursing courses at the University.


12.30pm Lunch

1.15pm Keynote

Mutual enrichment :  Nurturing, recognising and rewarding research-led, research –informed  scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) in a research- intensive university.
Professor Gina Wisker PFHEA NTF, University of Brighton

In the current context of an emphasis on teaching excellence (TEF, the Green paper) research and scholarship to inform and enhance learning and teaching practice (SOTL) enables and empowers vital links between research and teaching. It offers an established framework for research led and research informed teaching and learning, and  clarifies the importance of discipline based (and generic)learning theory to evidence based practice to use in our work, in our contexts. Strategically positioning SOTL encourages research evidence for sound, innovative, and excellent practices in teaching and learning and fuels positive change in institutional processes of recognition and reward. We will consider the findings and implications of two recent HEA commissioned reports : Fanghanel, J., Potter, J., Pritchard,J.,Wisker, G. (2016) ‘Defining and supporting the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL): A sector-wide study’ and Fung, D., and Gordon, C. (2016) Rewarding Educators and Education Leaders in Research-Intensive Universities.
We will also discuss some of the key issues and tensions such as:  Why get involved in the scholarship of learning and teaching? What are the tensions and challenges? the excitements and   benefits?   How can SOTL can be a generator of valuable evidence relevant to a research-intensive university without expecting colleagues to become educational researchers? How can we link research and teaching to inform and enhance student learning?  How do universities support, embed, recognise and reward SOTL? .

Gina is Professor of Higher Education & Contemporary Literature and Head of the Centre for Learning and Teaching at the University of Brighton. She is on the executive of the Staff and Educational Development Association, chair the Scholarship and Research committee, and has been chief editor of SEDA’s rated journal Innovations in Education and Teaching International for 16 years. Gina is a board member of the Katherine Mansfield Society, and the Chair of the Contemporary Women's Writing Association (since 2013).

2.20pm Parallel sessions on peer perceptions of quality

Academic leadership vs academic integrity – a happy marriage or a divorce in the making?
Carol Steed FHEA, Leadership and Management Director  
Dr Nicola Royan SFHEA, English


This workshop aims to provoke debate and discussion around the future of academic leadership in an evolving HE sector. Can the academic principles of the past still guide us into the future? Is an ever increasing focus on ‘managerialism’ destroying our academic integrity? Or is it this an opportunity to re-think how we build on our greatest heritage to create a compelling University for the future?

Informed by the latest research, we will explore together some of the principles that have guided the development of University’s in terms of their evolution, and consider what that means for us today. We will debate the impact of managerial thinking and models on how we are developing teaching and learning for the future, considering whether our perceptions are well founded or if there are new possibilities to be considered. Throughout we will consider what this means for the future of teaching, learning and research practices at our University.

Carol has held both senior academic (Dean equivalent) and senior leadership roles in the HE sector for the past 16 years, and who has undertaken extensive research into developing excellence in higher education.

Nicola's expertise lies in older Scots literature; Late Middle English and Early Modern English literature; late medieval and early modern Scottish Latin literature. As a member of the Institute for Medieval Research, she organises and participates in events open to the public and she blogs on general medieval topics on Medieval@Nottingham. She has appeared on television and radio, to talk about the Douglases and Robert Burns.


The Lord Dearing Awards: what should we value?
Dr Carol Hall PFHEA, Health Sciences
Dr Kimberly Edwards SFHEA, Medicine
Dr Fiona McCullough PFHEA, Biosciences


The Lord Dearing Awards, first introduced in 1999, recognise the outstanding contribution of colleagues to student learning.  Each year awards are made to staff who teach and support learning in a variety of roles, individually and in teams. For the first time this year, the process was altered to include Faculties in the decision-making process by asking them to make recommendations from the submissions for the Judging Panel to consider.

For next year the University would like to reconsider the scheme and to develop the process from one that requires nominees to write a lengthy application against 6 criteria, to one that allows for specialist innovations in e.g. online learning or large group teaching, and which uses a wider range of evidence including that from students and peers.

In this session participants are invited to contribute to the discussion of what constitutes “outstanding” in our context and to offer suggestions for how a revised Awards scheme might operate.

Kim is a senior educator and researcher at the University of Nottingham. She runs a large team to manage the MSc Sports and Exercise Medicine and education activities for the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Sport Exercise and Osteoarthritis. Kim is the convenor of the University’s Senior and Principal Fellow Network.

Carol contributes to learning and teaching as a member of the child health nursing team within the School of Health Sciences, focussing upon the development of leadership and wider policy contexts as well as the application of nursing theory, and practice.

Fiona is a Course Manager (Master of Nutrition and MSc in Advanced Dietetic Practice ) and  member of both Undergraduate and Postgraduate Teaching and Learning Committees. She plays an active role in developing the School's Teaching and Learning Strategy and monitoring teaching quality in addition to innovating new learning opportunities.


Using evidence to demonstrate quality and impact
Jackie Cawkwell SFHEA, Professional Development
Dr Sarah Westwater-Wood SFHEA Health Sciences


Understanding the outcomes of what we do is an essential aspect of our everyday professional lives: we are instinctively curious and we seek to continuously improve. But how can we best evidence this and share with the wider academic community?

Shulman (2000) identifies three drivers behind this challenge: our personal interest; the shared responsibilities of a teaching team; and the external drivers associated with teaching and learning policy. Trigwell and Shale (2004) also suggest a more purposive means to an end: the enhancement of the student learning experience. Sharing our understanding of what we do also brings a teaching community closer together with inclusive initiatives.

Thus, there are several drivers and audiences for impact measures, suggesting a range of sources for gathering evidence is appropriate. This session begins with a discussion on this context behind evidencing the quality and impact of teaching practice, and offers a framework for developing a portfolio of evidence. Whilst useful in an everyday context, this session also focusses on the specific rigours of the UKPSF and the demands for demonstrating an active approach to evidencing quality and impact required as part of the process of HEA recognition.

Shulman; Trigwell and Shale in Brew, A. (2006). Research and Teaching; beyond the divide. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Jackie contributes to the work of both the PGCHE team as module convenor for the project module and to the Nottingham Recognition Scheme as NRS Adviser. She has a keen interest and expertise in collaborative learning, critical thinking in the classroom and pedagogic scholarship and practice. Her research interests include exploring the student experience of transitions into HE and approaches to professional development for staff teaching in HE.

Sarah takes great pride and enjoyment in supporting the PCGHE course at the University of Nottingham with peer observation and portfolio module marking support and in taking numbers of UG student dissertations to dissemination at national and international conferences. She also is a reviewer for publications and funding bodies.


3.20pm Tea

3.40pm Panel discussion

The panel, comprising speakers from the day, will address issues raised from the floor.

4.15pm Close



Please register to help us with catering. 


Professional Development

Kings' Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 84 66664
fax: +44 (0) 115 84 66784
email: pd@nottingham.ac.uk