Sustaining a Healthy Curriculum - Student Education Conference 2020

The Keele Institute for Innovation and Teaching Excellence (KIITE) recently hosted the Student Education Conference 2020 at Keele University.

The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Sustaining a Healthy Curriculum’, addressing the question of what it means to build and sustain a ‘healthy’ curriculum at Keele and beyond.

Over 150 delegates gathered to explore themes including The Student Voice as a Driver of Healthy Curricula, The Holistic Approach to Curriculum Design, Induction, Pedagogy and Practice, and Qualities and Skills.

21 presentations from colleagues across the University explored a wide variety of subjects, from developing resilience to tackling inequalities, student identity and digital environments.

The conference also saw the first KIITE Carousel - an opportunity for delegates to explore a diverse range of practical, theoretical and innovative projects opened up for collaboration.

Dr Chi Baik, Associate Professor in Higher Education from the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education, delivered the conference Keynote: Enhancing University Student Wellbeing: What Is The Role Of University Educators? In addition to the conference, Dr Baik spent two weeks at Keele working with colleagues from across the University, examining wellbeing in the curriculum.

Dr Rafe Hallett, Director of KIITE and co-organiser of the conference commented:

“Across the conference we received exceptional suggestions on how to create collaborative communities of learning - physical and digital - and learning spaces which create a sense of agency and belonging. It’s that sense of community and shared goal that drives forward academic progress, because it gives students that sense of loyalty, a sense of motivation behind their work, and an audience to test out their ideas and outputs with.

“It’s absolutely crucial that we don’t just react to student wellbeing, but that we have a design function in the University at programme level, which thinks about the way that we design in wellbeing and health into the student experience, which is what we are developing through the Curriculum Design Framework here in KIITE.”

Alongside presentations from academic colleagues, there were also several student presenters, who shared insights into the impact of extracurricular learning development workshops, and student-led Decolonising the Curriculum initiatives at Keele.

Michael Brown, a third-year undergraduate student who presented at the Student Education Conference commented:

“Coming to the Conference and interacting with lecturers, and other academics and students, has actually made me feel a part of a family, which has been very good for me and my own mental wellbeing.”

Watch all of the presentations from the Conference on the Conference Website