Exploring the ‘Civic Curriculum’

A Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence colloquium exploring University strategy and practice in relation to curriculum design, with a focus on the idea of the ‘Civic Curriculum’.

University of Leeds, Friday, June 9th 2017
We invite papers (20 minutes) which interrogate and reflect on ideas of engaged learning, community-facing programme design and curricula that establish links with regional politics, culture and business. We are especially interested in exploring the idea of ‘civic’ belonging, exchange and responsibility as ways of understanding the University’s role in relation to society.

Colloquium themes:

  • Designing modules and programmes that engage students with regional communities, culture and business
  • Heightening student awareness of, and loyalty to, the city or region
  • Nurturing a student’s ability to understand and critique regional questions of power, politics and identity
  • What ‘civic’ identity, responsibility and belonging could mean for University students and staff
  • Thinking afresh about the idea and role of the University in relation to its surrounding region
  • Taking risks with educational and learning spaces: the benefits and challenges of extending boundaries and sites of learning
  • University strategy and the role of ‘the civic curriculum’ (or similar concepts) in institutional policy, marketing, identityThe colloquium will run from 10.00 to 17.00, is free to attend and will include lunch and refreshments

Proposals: please send a 200 summary of your proposed paper to Dr Raphael Hallett at r.hallett@leeds.ac.uk
Attendance: register with Rekha Parmar at r.e.parmar@leeds.ac.uk
Venue: The Great Hall & Parkinson Court, University of Leeds

Evaluating resilience for academic study sessions

Helen St Clair-ThompsonIn higher education there is increasing concern about students’ resilience. In recent research I have employed a theoretical framework of resilience, known as the model of mental toughness. This predicts a range of outcomes, including attainment, adjustment to university, and psychological wellbeing. This academic year I have therefore been working with some collaborators, including Michael Atkinson in the School of Medical Education and John Whitworth in the School of Dental Sciences, to offer students the opportunity to attend “resilience for academic study” sessions.

Prior to attending the first session students completed measures of mental toughness and perceived stress. Appropriate clearance was sought from the university ethics committee. In the first session students were then provided with their mental toughness profile and encouraged to reflect upon their scores. Students were then introduced to a range of tools which may enhance mental toughness, including mindfulness, positive thinking, and goal setting. Workshop sessions have since been offered on the topics of mindfulness and building confidence.

Later this year I will ask students to fill in a questionnaire in order to evaluate the perceived usefulness of the sessions, and also to complete the mental toughness and perceived stress scales again so that I can explore several aspects of the data. This is being supported by a grant from the Faculty Unit for Educational Research, Development and Practice. I look forward to a future opportunity to disseminate the findings of the project.

Helen St Clair-Thompson, School of Psychology


From Pedagogy to Practicalities

stephen-jones-and-hugh-albertiIn the Spring 2016 round of ERDP Development Grants, Drs Steve Jones and Hugh Alberti were funded to carry out a study visit to Harvard medical school to inform the new Newcastle medical school curriculum on longitudinal integrated medical student placements.

Here is the report of their visit.

The aim of the visit was to observe first-hand the longitudinal integrated medical student placements (LICs) at Harvard Medical School and in particular to review the practical implications and challenges of implementation.   Harvard’s model of “longitudinal integrated clerkship” is a transformative redesign of clinical, largely community-based education involving up to weekly clinics in various specialities.  Grounded in the principle of “educational continuity”, students develop a “panel” of longitudinal patients over time in order to observe the patient journey, largely in the community setting but also following patients in and out of hospital.  Students also see the patient in the context of their “lived-lives” and develop relationships with them that are grounded in responsibility, commitment and duty.   Other key elements of the programme are regular “Bursts” of in-patient duties including on-call time and weekly student-led tutorials.  The other key aspect of educational continuity is through a longitudinal relationship with a clinical teacher or “preceptor” in each of the six disciplines. Students join the preceptor in out-patient clinics every week and have a meaningful role in caring for the patients. This would include clerking, presenting and recording in the patient’s notes, following up the patient at subsequent visits and  hospital appointments, calling the patient and or visiting them at home.

The Visit

We visited the Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) over three days: This is associated with Harvard Medical School and is roughly the equivalent of a small base unit in which a group of 12 3rd year students are placed for a LIC for the whole of the academic year.  CHA is a cluster of small hospitals with around 150 in-patient beds allied to a number of community “polyclinics.”  We were able to observe teaching taking place on the wards, in the polyclinic and a student-led classroom based tutorial. We held discussions with:  Preceptors (clinical teachers) from a range of specialties, various faculty staff, students individually and as a larger group, administrators, course directors and both co-founders of the programme and the hospital chief.

Take home messages

Our key take-home messages are; Students have a meaningful, longitudinal role in patient care; Students matter to their preceptors; Students need sufficient white time; Students are responsible for the majority of their learning; The panel of longitudinal cases is key; Admin and IT have an important role to play; Students develop a range of generic and professionalism skills; The hospital reports seeing an increase in the number of residents (junior doctors) applying to work there; Experienced teachers can adapt easily to this model; Specialisation of clinicians may be a challenge but is not insurmountable; An electronic portfolio / log book is essential; Students are better prepared for graduate level learning; Students have the same outcomes / assessments but at different times.

Based on the visit, a number of proposals have been outlined that are being considered by the MBBS Curriculum Review Group.  In summary these are an amalgamated LIC model in semester 2 year 4 for all students and a more comprehensive 1 or 2 semester LIC in year 3 for a smaller number of students.

Steve Jones and Hugh Alberti, October 2016