A very Happy New Year to you all!
New Year is a great time for new beginnings, and so it is with great pleasure that I’m able to announce the official launch of the Creative Education Network (CEN).
What is CEN?
The CEN is a connected learning community that provides educational development opportunities across UCA’s four campuses. You may well be thinking, ‘how is this different to teaching and learning..?’, so let me explain the choice of words:
- Creative reflects the creativity that is inherent in learning, and the creative focus of the University. We offer ways to enhance educational activity that are contextualised through the lens of your discipline so that they are consistent with creative practice;
- Education goes beyond the binary opposition of ‘teaching’ and ‘learning’ and recognises that we constantly switch between ‘teacher’ and ‘learner’ through our work. The term ‘education’ also acknowledges the diversity of educational work that is undertaken at UCA by colleagues in a range of roles;
- Network describes the expertise that is distributed across the Univeristy, and focuses on connecting people with the knowledge they need.
The CEN is coordinated by myself and Annamarie Mckie, the leader of our HEA Fellowship professional recognition scheme, and its core actvity is driven by the CEN team including Dr. Nicholas Houghton, Sallyanne Theodosiou, Ray Martin, John Sutter, and Gill Wilson. However, the real value lies in the extensive network of knowledge and expertise across the University – this is you. The purpose of the CEN is to provide flexible ways for you to access and participate in this community of excellence in creative education.
What’s in it for you?
The CEN provides contextualised educational development. This means that our focus is on conecting you with the person, the knowledge, or the learning opportunity that can help you solve the problem you are currently facing, and to achieve this through the lens of your discipline. You’ll gain access to:
- a supportive and extensive community of practice to help you enhance your educational work;
- contextualised knowledge and expertise to help you tackle a range of issues including retention, achievement and student success;
- our online database of research and good practice in creative education called ‘Bassline’;
- assistance with the development and dissemination of pedagogic research outputs
What’s in it for us?
If ‘us’ means the CEN network, we’re in it because we love helping people improve their teaching and supporting learning practice. If ‘us’ means the University, we all stand to benefit from excellent education as both we and our students will be more satisfied. It’s win-win.
How can you get involved?
You can become part of the CEN in a number of ways:
- Follow our blog to receive help and advice with key educational priorities including retention, engagement, and inclusivity;
- Participate in one of our forthcoming webinars (you can view previous webinars here);
- Request a workshop for your team to explore a particular issue relating to teaching, learning, or student engagement;
- Try arranging a peer-supported review with a colleague to help you critically reflect on your teaching practice;
- Become a CEN mentor and use your expertise to benefit others across the University;
- Ask us to connect you with a mentor to help you explore an aspect of your educational practice;
- Work with us to develop an aspect of your educational practice into a pedagogic research output, and receive advice on presenting and disseminating your research to external audiences;
- Share your educational success stories with us so we can share them with the UCA community;
- Enrol on our PGCert or MA in Creative Education;
- Apply for professional recognition by becoming an Associate Fellow, Fellow, or Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
One last thing…
If you’re wondering where all this connectedness has come from, it has been largely inspired by Dilly Fung’s Connected Curriculum framework. This is an educational philosophy that is based around:
- “sharing excellent practices already taking place in higher education institutions, and
- stimulating new creative ideas for enriching the curriculum and the wider student experience” (Fung, 2017: 4).
The framework is based around 6 key concepts which are presented in the graphic below. If you’d like to find out more, the book is freely available to download online. And I’d be very happy to buy you a coffee and talk about it in more detail.
But for now, a very Happy New Year to you all!