Elective Pathways: refreshing interdisciplinary provision

The ‘Keele Elective Pathways’ project aims to refresh and re-package elective provision at Keele, constructing a minimum of six elective pathways that each draw on the strength of interdisciplinary teaching and learning.

The Keele Curriculum has from its origins offered a distinctively broad education, with the Lindsay ‘experiment’ insisting that students work from a wide-ranging foundation year and maintain a range of disciplinary interests alongside specialist study. Through many stages of evolution and adaptation, the Keele Curriculum has remained loyal to this originary commitment for 70 years, maintaining a Foundation Year, a rich dual honours offer and an unusually strong, cross-faculty capacity for ‘elective’ study.

Recent innovations in Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences degrees, and a commitment to Education for Sustainability, along with a heightened student appetite for interdisciplinary, societally-relevant study, have refreshed Keele’s commitment to developing the elective provision.

The aim of the Elective Pathways is to build on existing, interdisciplinary topics which thread though the Keele Curriculum, drawing modules from thematic strengths (such as Sustainability and Health). the aim is to make those areas of provision even more coherent and attractive for students to take on an elective basis. The project will also enhance less developed or immanent curricular provision, building pathways that will be attractive to current and future cohorts, for example ‘Digital Futures’, and themes relevant to changing forms of knowledge, debate and work, for example ‘The Enterprising Mind’.

Rafe Hallett, Director of KIITE, comments:

“The project aims to reinvent the exciting interdisciplinary provision that Keele has always offered, making it much clearer to students that they can follow educational pathways that address grand challenges, enterprising contexts and trans-disciplinary debates”.

KIITE is liaising with Schools, Education leadership, Student Services, Timetabling, Student Representatives and Employer groups to develop the Elective Pathways project, adapting and repackaging existing provision, and also creating new modules and making fresh, interdisciplinary connections between learning and teaching in different areas of the University.

The benefits of the Keele Pathway will be significant:

  • Designing a distinctive element of the Keele Curriculum that refreshes the Lindsay vision
  • Creating a highly attractive and societally-relevant set of study pathways for students
  • Keele Elective pathways act as a key student recruitment tool in a competitive market
  • Making student choice more strategic, rewarding and coherent
  • Connecting interdisciplinary study and employability benefit
  • Connecting elective modules to assessment reform and innovation
  • Offering students an ‘enhanced’ educational outcome, certified by degree transcript
  • Offering Keele staff education leadership opportunities and CPD, scholarship opportunities, and external visibility for curriculum reform

Fil Nereo, Associate Director for Academic and Curriculum Development, is currently chairing the Elective Pathways working group, and can be contacted on f.nereo@keele.ac.uk. He is supported by Tim Lustig, Dean for Education in HumSS, and Terry Dray, Associate Director, Employability and Employer Engagement, within KIITE.