Jennie Blake is the Learning Development Manager for the University of Manchester Library. Jennie is an accomplished teacher and a the driving force behind the ongoing transformation of the Library’s teaching and learning activity. Her extensive pedagogical expertise and remarkable ability to bring students and staff in as co-creators for learning has created a dynamic and innovative community of practice that stretches across the University of Manchester and beyond.
With My Learning Essentials (MLE), Jennie has developed a skills support programme that is internationally recognised as an example of best practice. Her ability to transform current pedagogical research into practical applications means that both students and staff have access to exceptional and innovative teaching and support. MLE has not only impacted students at the University of Manchester but also seen users across the world, from Myanmar to the United States’ White House, accessing and learning from the materials and resources available via the programme.
Impact of work
Jennie is a catalyst for change, and her work reaches around the world. Her commitment to delivering exemplary teaching and teaching materials has meant the Library is now seen as a pedagogical centre of excellence at the University and throughout the sector. Her work around MLE and the additional expertise she provides in curriculum design and best practices for learning, have transformed teaching within the Library and its teams and across the University.
Professor Clive Agnew, Vice-President of Teaching, Learning and Students at the University of Manchester describes Jennie by saying:
“She has brought phenomenal energy and positivity to a body of work to a programme of work that is actively disrupting traditional thinking about teaching approaches in our schools.”
The students she teaches appreciate her expertise, welcoming manner and ability to incorporate their experiences into the teaching she does.
They say: “I would really like to extend my thanks personally to [Jennie]. Everything she said was totally relevant and she has given me immense motivation to tackle my current studies and exam revision. Her delivery was great and I felt she really engaged with all of our ideas whilst also displaying a clear, knowledgeable message that provided some really useful learning.”
Her work especially supports the needs of atypical and underrepresented groups, creating safe and inclusive learning opportunities for all students at the University of Manchester.
Plans for the future
Jennie continues to inspire change across the sector. She is currently working on exploring innovative assessments that allow for a true blended approach and is researching the connections between skills support and wellbeing. She is also working alongside others in the Library to build an interactive online hub for the support and expertise used in My Learning Essentials.
Learning Development Manager
The University of Manchester