Increased support for teaching & learning and professional development | University of Oxford

Increased support for teaching & learning and professional development

The University has outlined plans to strengthen and build on its support for academic teaching and learning, and to put a greater focus on professional development. 

Under the proposals, a new unit will be created to focus on the academic development of teaching and learning - providing advice and guidance on course design, adopting technology and digital resources, and assisting in pilots of new teaching methods. It will also act as a hub for activities within academic divisions. 

At the same time, the dedicated section focused on professional development will move to join the central HR team – helping to provide a more joined up approach to personal and career development.

The new teaching and learning unit will bring together two existing central teams: the Educational Development arm of the Oxford Learning Institute (OLI), and the Technology Enhanced Learning team in Academic IT (part of IT Services). It will report to Academic Registrar, Dr Saira Shaikh in the Academic Administration Division (AAD). The name of the unit and appointment to the lead role in the unit are still to be confirmed and progressed. 

The Professional Development arm of the OLI will move to report to HR Director Julian Duxfield - marking an important step in meeting the commitment to personal and professional development outlined in the new University Strategic Plan. 

The proposals follow a 2018 Technology Enhanced Learning Review, which provided a series of recommendations to improve support for academics and bring dispersed teams together. This echoes the conclusions of the earlier review of the OLI. 

Professor Martin Williams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Education, said: “The new teaching and learning unit will lead to a more co-ordinated and holistic experience for academics seeking advice and support on developing their learning and teaching. It will help us to build on the Oxford’s long tradition of excellence in teaching and learning, to embrace new technologies and methodologies that will enable us to continue to excel in the future.”

Professor Anne Trefethen, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, People and GLAM, added: “Our new model will build on the valued contribution of the teams in the OLI and Academic IT. The move of the Professional Development team recognises the strategic importance of this activity for the University, and will help us to focus on personal and career development in a more effective way.”

The changes mean that the Oxford Learning Institute and Academic IT will no longer operate after August 2019. However, there are no positions at risk of redundancy. A steering group has been formed to manage the changes in the coming months led by Dr Stuart Lee, Deputy Director, IT Services. It will be overseen by a group led by professors Anne Trefethen and Martin Williams.