Team at Newman wins Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence

05/08/2019 by Sinead Staunton

CATE award winners group photo

A team from Newman University has been recognised through a prestigious national award; Advance HE’s Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence [CATE].

CATE recognises and rewards collaborative work that has had a demonstrable impact on teaching and learning. Introduced in 2016, the scheme highlights the key role of teamwork in higher education Advance HE, which supports strategic change and continuous improvement in HE, runs the award scheme and awards up to 15 teams from across the whole of UK HE each year.

Students and staff from across Newman University collaborated through the student-staff partnerships to develop data-informed pedagogic innovations that support student progression and success. The team of students and staff, led by Sarah Parkes, Tutor for Retention and Transition at Newman, worked on how student data can best be used to enhance support for student engagement. The collaboration produced demonstrable impact on student retention and has helped shape University strategy on support for student success.

Students and staff from the team presented on their work at national conferences and events with the aim of transforming the way in which Newman identifies and supports students in need of help with their academic engagement. Conferences included 11th UK Learning Analytics Network meeting; Digifest; The Change Assets Network Conference; Staff Educational Development Association Conference; The European First Year Experience Conference; and the International Academic Identities Conference.

CATE team photo

The research also sparked interest across Twitter as well as resulting in publications on the matter from members of the team (Benkwitz et al, 2019) and positive feedback received from other academics who focus on student retention, such as Professor Liz Thomas, Professor of Higher Education at Edge Hill University, who commented:

“I am very impressed by the work undertaken by staff and students at Newman University.

“This work has been facilitated by two key principles, that differentiate it from much of the other work on learning analytics.  First, it has been underpinned by a fundamental belief in uncovering and harnessing the ‘human-side’ of data and analytics. Second, a collaborative grass-roots approach, involving students, teaching staff and technical staff as equal partners, who have developed this work to be truly student-centred, in development and implementation, the student experience, and in researching and disseminating the findings and impact.”

“The collaborative work of this team is commendable and should be recognised to enable it to be imitated widely.”

Team members included academics Dr Adam Benkwitz, Dr Kerry Myler and Helen Bardy, and students Tamara Smith, Aaisha Akhtar, Penny Keeling, Courtnie Reeve and Rae-Anne Preece. Aaisha wrote an article for the international SEDA magazine explaining more about the project.

The Newman team will now work with Advance HE to showcase and further the impact of their project across UK HE.

Read more about the project.

Visit the student-staff partnership page.