The Enhancement Themes are selected by the Scottish higher education sector and they provide a means for institutions, academic staff, support staff and students to work together in enhancing the learning experience.

Each Theme facilitates both sharing and learning from current and innovative national and international practice. In addition, the Themes promote the collective development of new ideas and models for innovation in learning and teaching.

Support for the Enhancement Themes is provided by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, Scotland (QAA).

About

The University has been engaging actively with the Enhancement Themes since their introduction in 2003. Work which has taken place has included collaborations with the Careers Service and AUSA, instigation of annual symposia, and funding for individual projects supporting the integration of Enhancement Themes into teaching programmes at the University.

The Scottish higher education Enhancement Themes are a national programme of activities, overseen by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and supported by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC).  They are aimed at enhancing the student learning experience through identifying common areas for development in higher education institutions across Scotland, and providing a forum to share ideas about these.

They encourage academic and support staff, and students collectively to share current good practice and to generate ideas and models for innovation in learning and teaching.

The work of the Enhancement Themes is planned and directed by the Scottish Higher Education Enhancement Committee.

The QAA Enhancement Themes website provides support for work on the themes and publishes information about related events.

What does this mean at the University of Aberdeen?

The University has been engaging actively with the Enhancement Themes since their introduction in 2003. Work which has taken place has included collaborations with the Careers Service and AUSA, instigation of annual symposia, and funding for individual projects supporting the integration of Enhancement Themes into teaching programmes at the University.

Evidence for Enhancement 2017/20

Improving the Student Experience

The new Enhancement Theme is Evidence for Enhancement: Improving the Student Experience and will run for the next three academic years. The Theme will consider:

What information is useful to help us identify and understand what we do well and what could be improved? This information, which includes qualitative and quantitative evidence, can be used to identify the issues that would benefit from intervention, help prioritise interventions for improving the student experience, and evaluate the effectiveness of those interventions including reporting on the ways in which the student experience has been improved.

The work will be managed by QAA Scotland along with the Theme Leaders Group (TLG) which will comprise members from each higher education institution plus student members. Add a ‘More Information’ link which should link to the Evidence for Enhancement pages (see menu changes below).

The University of Aberdeen’s institutional lead for the Evidence for Enhancement Theme is Professor Kath Shennan.

The membership of the University of Aberdeen’s Institutional Team is:

Staff representation

Prof Kathleen I J Shennan Theme Leaders' Group Institutional Representative and Chair of Institutional Theme Steering Group
Prof  W David McCausland Personal Chair, Business School (and alternate TLG Lead)
Dr Martin G. Barker Senior Lecturer (Scholarship), School of Biological Sciences
Dr Colin J Calder Senior Adviser (Student Surveys),  Centre for Academic Development
Katja Christie Deputy Academic Registrar
Dr Peter A Henderson Senior Lecturer (Scholarship), School of Natural and Computing Sciences
Prof Hazel Hutchison Dean of Undergraduate Studies for Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Business
Prof Alison Jenkinson Dean of Undergraduate Studies for Science, Engineering and Healthcare
Prof Christopher Kee Dean of Postgraduate Taught Studies for Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Business
Prof Judith F M Masthoff Head of Postgraduate Research School
Prof Peter McGeorge Vice-Principal for Learning & Teaching
Dr Sally Middleton HE Progression Routes Manager, Student Recruitment and Admissions Service
Prof Ekaterina E Pavlovskaia Dean of Postgraduate Taught Studies for Science, Engineering and Healthcare
Dr Joy Perkins Educational Development and Employability Adviser, Careers Service
Patricia A Spence Manager, Centre for Academic Development
Dr Steven J Tucker Senior Lecturer (Scholarship), School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition and Chair of the Student Retention Taskforce
Dr Amanda Wilson Planning Analyst, Directorate of Planning

 

Student representation

Donna Marie Connelly Education Officer, AUSA
Aneta Fortelkova Student representative
Daniel Kaminek Student representative
Darryl Peers Student representative

 

Postgraduate Research Student representation

 Muhammad Saeed Nasir PGR representative

 

Information about the launch of the new Theme can be found here .

 

Current Theme

The new Enhancement Theme is Evidence for Enhancement: Improving the Student Experience and will run for the next three academic years. This Theme will focus on transitions into, out of and during university.

The work will be managed by QAA Scotland along with the Theme Leaders Group (TLG) which will comprise members from each higher education institution plus student members.

Learning and Teaching Enhancement Programme

The University of Aberdeen’s Learning & Teaching Enhancement Programme (LTEP) was established in 2007 to encourage the introduction of enhancement activities in learning and teaching and to disseminate effective practice throughout the institution.

Past LTEPs

Past Learning and Teaching Enhancement Themes and Case Studies

Student Transitions

2016 / 2017
Summer School for Engineering Articulating Students School of Engineering Alfred Akisanya
Student transitions: the role of student support structures School of Medicine, Medical Science and Nutrition Professor Jennifer Cleland
Supporting students with Autism transition out of University Aberdeen University Students' Association Liam Fuller
Survival Guide Aberdeen University Students' Association / Student Recruitment / Admissions Service Liam Fuller (with Donna Connelly & James Short)
Online Professional Skills Course: evaluating, developing and disseminating Careers Service Tracey Innes
A Comparative Study of Blended and Online Learning Virtual Optical Pedagogy School of Geosciences Dr David K Muirhead
Telling tales: using student narratives to aid transition School of Psychology Dr Emily Nordmann
Contemplating Transition Metals: Supporting first year chemistry student transitions using contemplative inquiry into the metaphor of transition metals School of Natural and Computing Sciences Dr Silvia Wehmeier
2015 / 2016
Student Work Life Balance School of Biological Sciences Mrs Cath Dennis
Improving student skills and attributes in the transitions for Year 3 to 4 and into employment through problem-oriented group work School of Social Sciences Dr Stuart Durkin
Enhancing Students' Online Professionalism and Employability School of Psychology Dr Emily Nordmann
Joining the dots between conversation, induction and retention Medical Sciences Dr Steve Tucker
An investigation into how the peer assisted learning scheme promotes transitioning of students into teachers, professional and adult learners Medical Education Dr Asha Venkatesh
Seismic Data from Outcrops School of Geosciences Professor John Howell

Developing & Supporting the Curriculum

2013 / 2014

Supporting Student Retention & Progression

The theme of this year’s Programme is Supporting Student Retention & Progression, which aligns with the current sector wide QAA Enhancement Theme ‘Developing and Supporting the Curriculum’. An award of up to £6000 was made available for this from the QAA funding.

Supported Projects

  • John Barrow, Steve Tucker, Gordon McEwan, Alison Jenkinson and Derryck Shewan, School of Medical Science:School of Medical Science Skills Support Centre Project
  • Lindsay Tibbetts, Business School: Supporting Accountancy Fundamentals

  • Jackson Armstrong, Dictionary of Aberdonian Biography: Divinity, History & Philosophy

  • Elizabeth Macknight, Aberdeen Workshops for Student-led Co-operative Enterprise: Divinity, History & Philosophy

  • Karen Salt, The Big Read Book Groups: Divinity, History & Philosophy

  • Edward Welch, Language and Literature: Critical Thinking and Continuing Induction at Level 1 

  • Morgiane Richard, Andrew Starkey & Sally Middleton, School of Engineering & Centre for Academic Development: Development of Online Diagnostice Tests for Engineering Maths Using

2012 / 2013

Maths Support for Non Maths Students

The focus was on identifying projects to support flexibly delivered, targeted, maths support in non-maths courses and an award of up to £5600 was made available for this from the QAA funding. Staff were encouraged to apply for funding to employ a student assistant for a 7 week period.

Supported Projects

2011 / 2012

The Centre for Academic Development offered funding to support small-scale projects and case studies that would enhance learning & teaching.  Members of staff were invited to explore the ways in which they as an individual, or as a member of a discipline, School or College, might develop innovative approaches and/or enhance support for existing or future curricula at either undergraduate or taught postgraduate level.

Supported Projects

Previous LTEPs

Work Placements and Work-Related Learning

'Work Placements and Work-Related Learning' was launched in September 2011 and, in line with the latest Equality and Diversity legislation, encouraged staff to consider and assess the positive contribution which a diverse student body could make to their degree programmes or courses.

Four applications were received for this round of funding and three projects are being supported financially

Equality and Diversity in the Curriculum

'Equality and Diversity in the Curriculum' was launched in January 2011 and, in line with the latest Equality and Diversity legislation, encouraged staff to consider and assess the positive contribution which a diverse student body could make to their degree programmes or courses.

The projects currently being supported include:

  • Dr Anja Finger, Divinity History & Philosophy: Queering Religion and Its Study: The Experience of LGBTIQ Students
  • Dr Shi Min How & Dr Mark Whittington, Business School: Understanding the perceptions and attitudes to learning of international postgraduate business students
  • Dr Debbi Marais, Population Health: Reflection on Self-Assessment Skills Audit to improve Employability for Postgraduate Taught Students

A brief synopsis of these projects can be found here

Evaluating Graduate Attributes

This round of Learning and teaching enhancement programme, entitled Evaluating Graduate Attributes was launched in June 2010 and invited staff to evaluate how successful the embedding of Graduate Attributes in their courses or programmes has been.

There were seven applications for this round of funding, and three were identified for support, although since then one of these has been withdrawn. The projects being supported are:

  • Dr Sarah Dalrymple, Dr Nicola King & Dr Martin Barker, School of Biological Sciences: Assessing the development of two Graduate Attributes within a new tutorial based course for Level 1 students in Biological Sciences
  • Ms Sue Heard, School of Geosciences: Integrated Coastal Management
Graduates for the 21st Century

A Learning and Teaching Enhancement Programme based on the Enhancement Theme of Graduates for the Twenty-First Century was launched in 2009 and applications were received up until December. The successful projects were among those which offered the possibility of embedding the skills, knowledge and attributes of 'Graduates for the 21st Century' in undergraduate curricula.

As a result of this, the Centre for Learning and Teaching supported six projects from across the University of Aberdeen. These include:

  • 'Communicating abstract ideas through exhibitions',
  • 'Co-operation across cultures:
    • enterprise and entrepreneurship in the curriculum',
    • 'Exploration of International Development Activity for proposed cross-school course on Political Economy',
    • 'Imaging Exhibitions',
    • 'What keeps you awake at night?
    • A manager's view of operations' and
    • 'Artificial Intelligence via Computer Games'.