Southampton conference focuses on the educational challenges facing universities in the technologica

University of Aberdeen representatives will join higher education experts from around the world in Southampton this week to discuss innovations in teaching and learning in universities

The University of Southampton and the University of Aberdeen are jointly establishing a global network of universities engaged in institution-wide curriculum innovation. Its focus will be to share learning and approaches to curriculum development in a collaborative way, to identify best practice and explore practical solutions to the challenges ahead.

The first meeting of the Curriculum Innovation Network takes place at the University of Southampton this week (18 and 19 January) with representatives attending from universities in Australia, Brunei, the United States, and Hong Kong.

Professor Bryan MacGregor, Vice Principal (Curriculum Reform), University of Aberdeen, will speak on ‘University of Aberdeen - progress, issues, case studies, ongoing developments’.

He said: “The University of Aberdeen has led the way in the UK on innovative curriculum reform to ensure our graduates are equipped for the challenges of the 21st Century and are better able to meet the needs of employers and society. The curriculum changes form part of a wider plan at Aberdeen to achieve status as one of the top 100 universities of the world. 

“An important part of our research in developing Aberdeen's proposals was to find out what leading international universities were doing for curriculum development.  We are delighted now to share our experiences with colleagues from other distinguished UK and international institutions as this can only help to drive forward curriculum development.  The formation of the Curriculum Innovation Network will allow institutions to share best practice approaches to curriculum development.”

Conference chair Professor Debra Humphris, Pro Vice-Chancellor Education at the University of Southampton, comments: “The career landscape for future graduates is changing fast and is already very different for today’s students compared to that of their parents. Increasingly, as a result of all these factors, there is a growing need for each of us to be able to access education throughout our professional lives. The question to be answered is – how can universities best meet that need?

“We’ll be looking at issues such as flexibility in the curriculum; choice and personalisation of learning; future knowledge; interdisciplinary research; future employability and future jobs; as well as internationalisation of the curriculum.

“We need to prepare our graduates for their future. Curriculum innovation in universities is not a new phenomenon but the pace of change in the external environment makes this a pressing need for the 21st century.”