The ProPEL (Programmes to Propel Effective Learning) Team was formed to support all of the University’s 34 departments and centres through a significant learning and teaching change process. The project arose from the University Learning and Teaching Strategy: the introduction of a new approach to programme design and leadership, designated The York Pedagogy.
This aims to enhance student learning across all undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes (over 550 in total) by promoting programme-level planning and design, re-defining a concise set of graduate outcomes for every programme, and aligning student work, staff-student contact and assessment to the achievement of those outcomes. An exceptionally ambitious timescale was set for the first phase of implementation.
Impact of work
The work included a new definition of the role of Programme Leader and provides support for colleagues in these roles. It also involved reviewing and mapping every programme via innovative Programme Design Documents. The York Pedagogy represents both cultural and operational change, and its scale and complexity required a new approach to central support which cut across existing structures at team, Section and Directorate levels. From the outset, the underlying focus was on developing relationships: broadening the shared knowledge and collaborative ethos between central teams, and presenting an enabling, catalytic partnership working model for academic colleagues.
The result has deepened the collaboration between central teams, between these teams and colleagues in academic departments, and has further the integration of the student perspective in programme and assessment design. The model has also helped to develop collaboration within departments, evidenced by some inspiring awaydays and other activities by programme teams.
Plans for the future
The ProPEL team involves 21 colleagues with a range of roles from the Academic Support Office, Careers and Placements, and Information Directorate. Over a 24 month period, the team has worked with over 600 staff and students in all departments. Enhancement plans have captured exciting ideas that will continue the momentum of this strategic initiative for years to come. The legacy of the York Pedagogy is also being seen in the ways of working for central teams: the new ‘business as usual’ is a more collaborative, informed and effective professional service.
University of York