Undergraduate Teaching Champions in the Business School

Photo credit: Luke Michael, Unsplash CC0

In this post, Mary Brennan, Director of Undergraduate Programmes in the Business School, outlines how teaching staff members who serve as Subject Group Undergraduate (UG) Teaching Champions play an important role in enhancing the student experience and advocating for pedagogic developments…

In an attempt to enhance Subject Group engagement with, contribution to, and ownership of the diverse undergraduate Business School portfolio, and to provide subject-group specific support to the Director of Undergraduate programmes, we created the new Subject Group Undergraduate Teaching Champion leadership and management role.

The undergraduate teaching champions from six subject groups work in collaboration with the following staff members across the school: the Director of Undergraduate (UG) Programmes, heads of subject group, the newly appointed Senior Teaching Fellow in Business Education, course organisers, student development, partnership development and alumni teams, and the undergraduate teaching office. Together, they oversee development, delivery and review of our courses (and associated programmes) in terms of the required knowledge, understanding, skills and competencies for their subject area. Through this mechanism, they take an active role in supporting the student experience by ensuring appropriate progression, coherency, relevancy and skills development within their subject group portfolio.

They champion and advocate for evolving and developing pedagogic practices and the undergraduate student experience by leading discussion on policies, developments and initiatives within their subject group. In particular, they work with the Year 3 Head to provide subject group specific guidance to students when developing their dissertation proposals. In this manner, the Subject Group UG Teaching Champions represent their subject group (and portfolio of subject group courses) on the undergraduate programme management team. They also advocate for their subject group towards associated committees where they help to inspire and develop a culture of teaching excellence and pedagogic innovation within their subject groups, and across the school.

The Subject Group UG Teaching Champions also support programme and course level changes relevant to their area, through relevant approval processes, attending and contributing to key annual events, and helping to build a stronger, more integrated undergraduate community. These events include: open days, offer-holder days, July graduation, school-funded student engagement, along with alumni and social events. They also support the Director of UG Programmes and the Quality and Accreditation team in monitoring the implementation of accrediting body requirements and other quality procedures where required by their subject group.

The Subject Group UG Teaching Champions are also responsible for leading dynamic annual reviews of their subject group’s UG teaching portfolio in terms of courses offered, course enrolments, assessment mix and type, and skills developed. These reviews feed into the evidence base for proposing, if required, structural and/or subject level changes to our programmes, courses offered, and teaching and learning policies. This enhanced annual activity facilitates more dynamic, proactive review and enhancement of our UG curricula to ensure their academic currency, industry relevance, and pedagogic innovativeness and agility.

This Teaching Champion role is currently being piloted in 19/20, and will be reviewed during the summer of 2020. Following that, we anticipate that it will become a permanent part of the undergraduate programme management leadership and structure going forward. The job description for this role is available upon request.

Mary Brennan

Professor Mary Brennan is a Chair of Food Marketing and Society and currently Director of undergraduate programmes (2017-2021) at the University of Edinburgh Business School. She led the most recent Internal Period Review of the School’s UG portfolio, has acted as Convener and Internal Member on other Internal Periodic Reviews at the University of Edinburgh, was appointed as a Visiting Professor at Cork University Business School (UCC) in Oct 2019 and is a very experienced external examiner (currently holds posts at Newcastle University, Reading University and Sunderland University). She is in final stages of completing the Chartered Association of Business School (CABS) Leaders in Learning and Teaching Programme, was awarded Certified Management and Business Educator status (CABS) in 19/20 and is working on a submission (20/21) for Principal Fellowship of Advance HE.

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