The Contemporary Academic in Context
|Module title||The Contemporary Academic in Context|
Professor Anna Mountford-Zimdars (Convenor)
|Number students taking module (anticipated)|
Description - summary of the module content
This module is for academics and academic-related professionals who teach or support learning, and/or undertake research/scholarship in a research-intensive university. Drawing on relevant research, and your own professional experience, this module will locate your professional practice and development within the wider context of UK higher education policy, education and research, as well as the more local institutional contexts and priorities which will shape your professional career development at the University of Exeter. It is designed to complement your work and to develop a supportive community amongst academics who are relatively new to the University.
There are no pre-requisites, but it is intended that you would take this module alongside module EFPM902 (Creative Effective Learning in Higher Education) as part of the Academic Professional Programme (Apprenticeship PGCert) or Academic Professional part-time pathway (PGCert).
Module aims - intentions of the module
This module aims to provide an understanding of the principles of academic practice and its political and social contexts following the professional values of the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) for teaching and supporting learning, and the Academic Professional Apprenticeship standard. Its purpose is to support you in building on your existing skills and knowledge in order to become effective academics and professionals operating in your departments, in the university and in the national and international context. It is intended to enhance your confidence and effectiveness through reflection on your own practice, informed by research, scholarship and professional development, and to enable you to thrive within a research-intensive university such as the University of Exeter.
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
ILO: Module-specific skills
On successfully completing the module you will be able to...
- 1. Analyse the wider context (policy, economic, societal, technological, legal, cultural and environmental) in which higher education operates, and recognise the implications for professional practice.
- 2. Employ and adapt design and delivery methods to support a range of needs for a variety of audiences and stakeholders, including students, colleagues, and funding bodies.
ILO: Discipline-specific skills
On successfully completing the module you will be able to...
- 3. Analyse, synthesise and use critical thinking in the conduct of research and/or scholarship in academic practice.
- 4. Explore innovative approaches to undertaking your work to create interest, understanding and enthusiasm among your students, funders and/or stakeholders.
ILO: Personal and key skills
On successfully completing the module you will be able to...
- 5. Implement the principles and methods of critically reflective practice and evidence-informed approaches to enhance your own professional development and academic practice.
- 6. Network confidently and effectively, and share ideas and evidence with students, peers, policy makers and private and public organisations (through a variety of channels including conferences, publications and teaching).
- 7. Commit to, and manage your own, continuing professional development (CPD) in your subject discipline and pedagogy, incorporating research, scholarship and professional practices.
This module is designed to support the development of supportive communities of practice amongst academic professionals in Higher Education. It also gives participants the opportunity to examine their academic practice in the round (administration, teaching, and scholarship/research), underpinned by evidence-informed approaches and the outcomes from research, scholarship and continuing professional development.
Most of the teaching on the module is concentrated into three delivery days. Structured learning activities will be varied, to include interactive lectures, discussion groups, expert panels, and collaborative small group tasks. The curriculum content is aligned to the UKPSF for teaching and supporting learning and the Academic Professional Apprenticeship standard. Participants will be allocated an assessment tutor from the teaching team, who will provide support as needed, in face-to-face meetings, by email, skype, and/or telephone.
Sessions can vary according to your and other participants’ interests and questions, but they are designed to fit into three broad themes:
1. Contemporary issues in UK Higher Education, for example:
- The nature of contemporary academic practice in all its dimensions: research, teaching, citizenship/leadership, and business and community relations
- Contexts for creativity in higher education: issues, changes and values
- Widening Participation, schools liaison, and HE admissions
- Developing student skills for academic success, employment and sustainability.
2. Academic practice in a research-intensive university, for example:
- The social, cultural and policy context of the contemporary university, in particular research-intensive universities such as the University of Exeter
- The relationship between research and teaching and how to negotiate them
- Research-inspired, inquiry-led learning
- Developing teaching and research practice through dialogue with peers: academic tribes and territories; communities of practice.
3. Individual Career Trajectories, for example:
- The Exeter Academic and continuing professional development
- Project management, problem-solving, and career development
- Where applicable, planning your own professional development with regards to research.
Additional elements will be designed in collaboration with you, as participants, in order to reflect your own priorities and the needs of your department, as determined in prior and on-going discussions between you, your Academic Leads and other stakeholders.
Learning and teaching
Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||Guided independent study||Placement / study abroad|
Details of learning activities and teaching methods
|Category||Hours of study time||Description|
|Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities||21||Three delivery days (each of approximately 7 hours), involving whole group sessions, comprised of a combination of activities, such as interactive lectures, presentations, discussion groups, collaborative small group tasks, poster presentations, and panel discussions.|
|Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities||1||Individual tutorials with assessment tutor and/or academic mentor.|
|Guided Independent Study||21||Preparation for poster, oral presentation, and for giving feedback to peers.|
|Guided Independent Study||50||Reading course materials and resources for extended study.|
|Guided Independent Study||50||Undertaking data collection and analysis (or equivalent) relating to your extended study.|
|Guided Independent Study||52||Writing (and composing if Option 3 selected) extended study.|
|Placement||105||Directed activities in professional contexts CPD and roles related to academic practice.|
|Form of assessment||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Poster and oral presentation; feedback to peers||2 hours (including peer feedback)||1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7||Oral peer and tutor feedback|
Summative assessment (% of credit)
|Coursework||Written exams||Practical exams|
Details of summative assessment
|Form of assessment||% of credit||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Extended study, consisting of ONE of the following options:||100||1-7||Written tutor feedback|
|Option 1. A long written project report/essay, plus 500-word post-programme development plan||0||Option 1. 4,000 words maximum (to include 400-word critical reflection of impact on own academic practice), plus 500-word post-programme development plan|
|Option 2. Two shorter written project reports/essays on different topics, plus 500-word post-programme development plan||0||Option 2. Two assignments totalling 4,000 words (to include 400 words of critical reflection of impact on own academic practice), plus 500-word post-programme development plan|
|Option 3. A shorter written project report/essay PLUS a digital project presentation (e.g. video, podcast or wiki) on the same topic, plus 500-word post-programme development plan||0||Option 3: A minimum of 2,000 written words (to include 400 word critical reflection on impact of own academic practice), plus the equivalent of 2,000 words in another medium (e.g. up to 12 minutes of video), plus 500-word post-programme development plan|
Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)
|Original form of assessment||Form of re-assessment||ILOs re-assessed||Timescale for re-assessment|
|Extended study, consisting of ONE of the following options:||Extended study, consisting of ONE of the following options:||1-7||Resubmission at next assessment deadline (minimum 3 months later)|
|Option 1. 4,000 words maximum (to include 400-word critical reflection of impact on own academic practice), plus 500-word post-programme development plan||Option 1. 4,000 words maximum (to include 400-word critical reflection of impact on own academic practice), plus 500-word post-programme development plan|
|Option 2. Two assignments totalling 4,000 words (to include 400 words of critical reflection of impact on own academic practice), plus 500-word post-programme development plan||Option 2. Two assignments totalling 4,000 words (to include 400 words of critical reflection of impact on own academic practice), plus 500-word post-programme development plan|
|Option 3: A minimum of 2,000 written words (to include 400 word critical reflection on impact of own academic practice), plus the equivalent of 2,000 words in another medium (e.g. up to 12 minutes of video), plus 500-word post-programme development plan||Option 3: A minimum of 2,000 written words (to include 400 word critical reflection on impact of own academic practice), plus the equivalent of 2,000 words in another medium (e.g. up to 12 minutes of video), plus 500-word post-programme development plan|
As per the TQA manual.
Indicative learning resources - Basic reading
- Becher, T. and Trowler, P. (2001). Academic tribes and territories: intellectual enquiry and the culture of disciplines, (2nd ed.) Buckingham: The Society for Research into Higher Education and Open University Press.
- Brown, K, and Mountford-Zimdars, A. (2017) "Exploring academic hiring and life in humanities and social sciences at an English research university through a PhD students-as-partners project", Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, Vol. 8 Issue: 1, pp 15-29.
- Debowski, S. (2011). The New Academic: A Strategic Handbook. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
- Mountford-Zimdars A, Sanders J, Moore J, Sabri D, Jones S, Higham L (2017). ‘What can universities do to support all their students to progress successfully throughout their time at university?’ Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education, 21(2-3), pp 101-110.
- Trowler, P., Saunders, M. and Bamber, V. (eds), (2014). Tribes and territories in the 21st century: rethinking the significance of disciplines in higher education, Abingdon and New York: Routledge.
Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources
- Advance HE, UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) for teaching and supporting learners in higher education: https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/uk-professional-standards-framework-ukpsf.
- Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, Academic Professional Apprenticeship standard: https://www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/apprenticeship-standards/academic-professional/.
- Vitae – realising the potential of researchers: https://www.vitae.ac.uk/.
Module has an active ELE page
Indicative learning resources - Other resources
- Barber, M., Donnelly, K., Rizvi, S. (2013). An avalanche is coming. Higher education and the revolution ahead. Available at: http://www.ippr.org/files/images/media/files/publication/2013/04/avalanche-is-coming_Mar2013_10432.pdf?noredirect=1.
- Bolden, R. et al, (2012) Academic Leadership: changing conceptions, identities and experiences in UK higher education. Summary report available at: https://www.lfhe.ac.uk/en/components/publication.cfm/S3-04.1.
- Moore, J., Higham, L., Sanders, J., Jones, S., Candarli, D., and Mountford-Zimdars, A. (2017). Analysis of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF2) provider submissions, https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/evidencing-teaching-excellence.
- Reshef, S. (2014). An ultra-low-cost college degree [video] from TED2014, available at: https://www.ted.com/talks/shai_reshef_a_tuition_free_college_degree?utm_campaign=tedspread&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=tedcomshare.
- Wonkhe (pronounced wonky) for HE policy, people and politics: https://wonkhe.com/.
Participants will also need to construct an individual list of references of books, journal articles and policy literature according to their extended project plan.
|NQF level (module)|
|Available as distance learning?|
|Last revision date|