Welcome to the June issue of Teaching Matters: Celebrating a discipline

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Welcome to the June issue of Teaching Matters: Celebrating a discipline – What makes it special, today and in the near future?

In this issue, Teaching Matters has been asking staff across the University to reflect on the following questions about their discipline:

  • What makes your discipline unique, different, special, interesting, challenging, or surprising?
  • How do the students, staff, teaching spaces, course and programme design, and discipline-specific knowledge base etc contribute to making it special?
  • What do you think your will discipline look like in the near future?
  • What are the challenges facing the discipline in today’s complex world?
  • Should it remain a single discipline, or can you see a future where it needs to become more inter/multi/intra-disciplinary?

Staff from Music, Engineering, and GeoSciences have all responded to this call, contributing thoughtful and stimulating reflections on the current, and changing, nature of their discipline.

The first few posts published this month, however, sit outside this specific theme. These include contributions from: Gill Aitken, Tim Fawns, and Derek Jones debating the current undergraduate academic regulations and the different needs for online postgraduate study; Ros Claase highlighting the project Personal Tutor and Student Support Review; and Christine Love-Rodgers sharing her experience of an ERASMUS library staff training week at the University of Gottingen.

This month also sees the second annual University of Edinburgh Learning and Teaching Conference, being hosted at the John McIntyre Conference Centre, Pollock Halls of Residence, on Wednesday 19th June. Although the event booked up very quickly, staff and students can take part virtually as sessions will be streamed live on the conference webpage.

Mini-series: promoting inclusion, equality and diversity in the curriculum

We continue with the mini-series ‘Promoting inclusion, equality and diversity in the curriculum’, which so far has highlighted the growing impact for the Diversity Reading list in Philosophy, embedding LGBT+ health in the undergraduate medical curriculum, and the importance of diversifying the curriculum.

This mini-series, co-edited by Brian Connolly, Tom Ward (Academic Services), and Dr Velda McCune (IAD), will conclude this month with two podcast episodes. Diva Mukherji, the current Vice President Education at Edinburgh University Students’ Association, will host the first episode, exploring with her guests the idealistic question: What would curriculum review look like if we placed inclusivity and diversity at the heart of it? The second episode will be hosted by an external guest from The Association of Commonwealth Universities, Annabel Boud. Annabel, a Programme Manager (Policy) at the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, will be joined by two Commonwealth students to discuss their experiences of diversity and inclusion at The University of Edinburgh.

Happy reading!!

Jenny Scoles

Dr Jenny Scoles is the editor of Teaching Matters. She is an Academic Developer (Learning and Teaching Enhancement) in the Institute for Academic Development, and provides pedagogical support for University course and programme design. Her interests include student engagement, professional learning and sociomaterial methodologies.

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