Department for Learning Development news
Staff training in counter terrorism awareness
Teesside University is highly committed to the security and safety of its students, staff and the local community. Through the work of the Disaster Advisory Group and in consultation with Cleveland Police, the Department for Learning Development co-ordinated a series of awareness raising workshops to promote Project Griffin, a police initiative devised to advise and familiarise large public and private sector organisations on security, counter-terrorism and crime prevention issues.
Identified nationally as good practice, Project Griffin training was introduced initially to the University's Campus Facilities caretaking, cleaning and security staff and a series of workshops was initiated over the summer months. This was followed by a further roll-out to staff working in catering services and the Library.
Feedback from delegates on the insightful awareness raising aspects of the training, which have been designed to help people think about their own local procedures and processes and empower them to report suspicious behaviour to the police, highlighted that the training would also be particularly useful for any member of staff involved in front line activities, such as reception, help desks and counter services.
To date Cleveland Police Counter Terrorism Security Advisors have delivered eight workshops and 222 members of staff have taken part in the training.
If you feel that the training would be beneficial to you or your team, contact Samantha Evans to register your interest - as the Department for Learning Development, in collaboration with Cleveland Police, will be continuing to offer this training to meet the needs of colleagues.
Graduate intern development programme
The University launched its first graduate intern programme in December 2011. Following the interview and selection process, 46 Teesside graduates were offered a three-month internship, either working in the University or with a partner organisation.
The Department for Learning Development facilitated a two-day induction event held at the Darlington Campus on 4 January 2012. Elements of the induction process included a welcome from the Vice-Chancellor, an introduction to the University as a new employee, guest speakers and professional training and development activities, designed to focus and reflect on key workplace skills and attributes.
An integral part of the 2012 Graduate Intern Programme was a weekly learning and development activity designed to develop and enhance the graduates' employability skills. A programme of full or half day events and activities, which combined time for personal reflection as well as skills and knowledge development, was devised and facilitated with colleagues from the Department for Learning Development, Student Services and Library and Information Services.
The content of the learning and development programme was based on research into skills which employers look for in employees and in graduates. The interns were encouraged to discuss the learning from the sessions with their mentors and workplace supervisors to help them relate the learning to their strengths and development areas. Personal and professional development areas covered within the programme included effective team building, application and CV writing, confidence and self-esteem, personal presentation, generational motivation, digital and literacy skills and report writing. Practical sessions involved a simulated interview designed to explore the skills and attributes which were developed during the work placement and through the learning and development programme.
The programme culminated in an evaluation event facilitated by DfLD, focusing on evaluating the learning and development aspect of the intern programme. It was also an opportunity for the interns to meet collectively for one last time to celebrate their successes and achievements and share and discuss proposals to allow them to continue with their development and networking opportunities with each other and University colleagues.
During the course of the internship programme, nine of the interns were successful in gaining employment and we received feedback from them to say that being part of the internship benefitted them in terms of developing their employability skills. Four of the nine secured positions within the University.
Steven Ross, who was placed within the Sport and Recreation Team in Student Services, secured a position midway through the programme with England Sport and Racketball. Speaking to BBC Radio Tees at the evaluation event, Steven said the training and development aspects of the programme around developing interview techniques and presenting applications were a real benefit in helping him secure a job.
School of Computing's school conference
This year the School of Computing's school conference, held on 8 February, focused on one of the University's most topical agendas - enhancing the student experience.
The School's senior management team approached the Department for Learning Development and in consultation with Beverly Simpson, Deputy Director and Dr Diane Nutt, PL Learning and Teaching, a programme of activities which looked at the student experience from a national, University and School perspective, was developed.
The event, which was attended by 42 colleagues from the School, was facilitated by Gillian Janes, PL Learning & Teaching and Learning and Development consultants, Helen Ashley, Raza Rashid and Jeanette Sumler-Hutchinson.
The formula for the conference, a series of interactive activities, allowed colleagues to identity and reflect on the ways in which the School of Computing student experience could be enhanced. Alison Johnson, Assistant Dean, opened the conference and was delighted with the number of staff able to attend. The conference also welcomed Professor Eileen Martin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Student Experience) who was able to take time from her busy schedule to participate in a number of the activities.
Professor Martin said: 'I was delighted to spend time with staff from the School of Computing. One of the strengths of our University is the reputation of this School over many years and I was really encouraged at the reflective and thoughtful approach taken by colleagues.'
A summary of key points from the activities was provided at the plenary session by Alison Johnson and Assistant Dean, Gary Griffiths. Alison said she is keen to provide more of this type of activity across the whole of the School on a regular basis.
Campus Services improve their IT skills
Each year the Department for Learning Development facilitates a programme of training and development activities specifically designed for caretaking and cleaning staff in Campus Services. This annual continuing professional development programme is an opportunity for this key group of staff to update their skills and knowledge and also engage in relevant University agendas.
The 2011 annual training gave participants an opportunity to understand the importance of Health and Safety, Cultural Awareness and Teamwork and their relevance in providing and enhancing an excellent Student Experience.
In partnership with Union Learning Representatives and from the evaluation of the 2011 programme, an IT skills gap was identified for this group of staff. DfLD devised a series of IT Drop-In Sessions, specifically designed to offer skills and tips on using computers for work and home.
Participants in the drop in sessions have said 'I feel valued'; 'My confidence has gone from 0 to 8/9 out of 10'; 'It's good to have the opportunity to learn new skills'.
Now that the benefits to the staff have been identified, DfLD hope to be able to continue to offer this support and enhance it to meet the further development needs of Campus Services staff.
Leaders of research excellence
Senior researchers - with colleagues from the University's Department for Learning Development and the Graduate Research School - are involved in a collaborative project which aims to design, deliver and evaluate a leadership development programme to support 15 strategic leaders of research excellence across all three post-92 higher education institutions in the North East – Teesside, Sunderland and Northumbria universities.
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Staff celebrate academic success
Teesside University congratulates members of staff who graduate in 2011.
Fee support for staff to undertake accredited courses and qualifications has been a long and established method for rewarding and recognising staff. From its inception, as an aid to supporting learning development for academic staff, it further evolved as the University recognised the benefits of enhancing the higher skills of all our staff, including staff in HEBP colleges who teach on Teesside University programmes.
Among those graduating were 60 colleagues who successfully completed their studies in 2011, with a further 13 staff graduating from other Universities or course providers. All staff members have benefited from fee support from the University.
Beverly Simpson, Deputy Director of the Department for Learning Development said, 'It is a great pleasure to recognise and celebrate the achievement of all our staff. It takes an enormous amount of commitment to complete study alongside work and I congratulate all our staff for having the determination to succeed.'
Tracey Winn, an administrator in the Directorate of the School of Social Sciences and Law, who completed a BA (Hons) Working With Young People, said, 'After successfully completing a part-time two year foundation degree, I was actively encouraged and supported by my school senior management team to further enhance my professional and personal development by taking the next step and study for the degree.
'To allow me to take this opportunity I was fortunate to gain funding support from the University's central staff development budget. Working full-time and studying part-time was challenging, but rewarding. The whole student experience and the support from the University was invaluable to my achieving a first class degree.'
The University has provided fee support to more than 400 staff to undertake further study during 2011/2012.
University volunteers muck in to help charity
Volunteers from Teesside mucked in to help spruce up a centre which provides horse riding for disabled children and adults.
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Enhancing the student experience
Staff from the Department for Learning Development (DLD) were on hand to offer advice and information on enhancing the student experience during the School of Science & Engineering (SSE) conference.
Learning and Development Consultants, Helen Ashley, Raza Rashid and Jeanette Sumler-Hutchinson, together with Gillian Janes, Learning and Teaching Consultant, facilitated the morning session of the conference on 12 September.
The conference centered on enhancing the student experience and was opened by Professor Simon Hodgson, SSE Dean and Jill Armstrong, DLD Director.
The School had identified exploring the enhancement of the student experience as a key theme for their conference and approached DLD to facilitate a learning and development activity session which would engage with all the School.
Each activity provided an opportunity for the conference delegates to reflect on and identify the ways in which the SSE student experience could be enhanced at each stage of the student lifecycle and specifically explored:
- what an excellent experience looks like at each stage, with the focus on practical real examples of behaviours and actions
- the role of each individual in making it happen
- what needs to change or be done differently
- how barriers can be overcome.
Jules Pringle, Retention Support Officer, said: ‘I found it useful to see other people’s views on the areas we covered. The topic was relevant to my role and it was good to see where other staff feel they fit into the student experience.’
Tim James, School Learning and Teaching Co-ordinator, added: ‘The input by DLD was engaging and stimulating. The activities, while separate, when looked at collectively helped me to consider the bigger picture and some issues the School and University faced.’