Keynote address: What is a university education for?

Paul Ashwin

We are pleased to be welcoming Prof. Paul Ashwin to deliver the keynote address at this year’s Learning and Teaching Conference, Education for All: Learning Together. Find out more about Paul and the keynote address below:

What is a university education for?

The global pandemic has led to changes to university teaching and learning practices and significant financial pressures on the higher education sector. In the face of unexpected social and economic challenges, there is a danger that the quality of higher education will be judged simply in terms of graduates’ employment outcomes and we will lose sight of the educational purposes of a university education. In this keynote, I will argue that, in order to reinvigorate our understanding of university education, we need to focus on how students are supported to develop transformational relationships with disciplinary and professional knowledge. These relationships change students’ understanding of themselves and the world and are central to the many ways in which going to university can transform students’ lives and contribute to societal well-being. I will explore the implications of this argument for our educational practices.


Paul Ashwin is Professor of Higher Education and Head of the Department of Educational Research at Lancaster University. He is Deputy Director of the Centre for Global Higher Education, an ESRC funded research centre involving 10 international universities. Paul’s research is focused on the educational role of higher education. His book, ‘Transforming University Education: A Manifesto’ (2020), argues for a focus on the educational, rather than economic, purposes of university degrees in order to understand their transformational impact on students and societies. He is also the lead author on Reflective Teaching in Higher Education (2015, 2020) which is written by an international team to support the development of research-informed university teaching.  

Get involved in this year’s conference

The conference will take place on the 31 March 2022 and all colleagues and students are invited to register.

The call for submissions closes on the 14 January 2022 so there’s still time to submit a proposal.

Full details on the conference website and you can get in touch with with any questions.

Three Rivers Conference 2022: Engaging Students: Building Communities

Students talking

29 June 2022 

The call for abstracts for Three Rivers 2022: ‘Engaging Students: Building Communities’ is now open.

Building upon the success of previous partnership events held by the region’s Universities (Teesside, Durham, Newcastle, Sunderland and Northumbria), our theme for 2022 is ‘Engaging Students: Building Communities’. Three Rivers 2022 will be hosted online by Northumbria University. The keynote speaker for the conference is Prof Peter Felten, executive director of the Center for Engaged Learning, and Professor of History at Elon University, US.

The theme of the Three Rivers Conference 2022 is how we engage students in learning through building communities. The conference will look at how on campus communities support student engagement, contributing to a sense of belonging, and through this enhance retention and widening participation; as well as collaborations with communities and partners that create authentic inquiry based learning opportunities for students.

Colleagues and students are all invited to submit an abstract by the 18 April 2022. 

Full details are available on the Three Rivers website.  

Registration is free for colleagues and students of the 3 Rivers Universities consortium, and will open on 28 February, closing on 28th June 2022. If you have any further queries or questions, please contact

Join a working group 

Colleagues are invited to join a working group that aligns with the conference themes. These groups provide a forum for bringing together and sharing ongoing work across the five partner universities in the form of strategies, initiatives, and practices that engage students through building communities. Each working group will prepare for a panel presentation at the conference.

Find out more on the conference website

Working Group 1: Engaging Student in Authentic Inquiry Based Learning with Communities 

If you would like to join this working group and/or would like to share and discuss work you and/or your colleagues are conducting in the area, please  initially email Dr. Sue Mathieson  by the 14 February 2022

Working Group 2: Enhancing Student Engagement for Retention, Progression and Attainment 

If you would like to sign-up to be part of the Enhancing Student Engagement for Retention, Progression and Attainment working group and/or would like to share and discuss work you and/or your colleagues are conducting in the area, please initially email Dr. Sam Elkington with your contact details:  by the 14 February 2022. 

Student Voice Forum

Group of students

15 December, 12-2pm

Please join us for the next Student Voice Forum on 15 December. The forum will be hosted by Professor Tom Ward and will be an opportunity to share ideas and good practice in relation to student voice activity.

The forum will take place online on Wednesday 15 December from 12 – 2pm. It’s open to everyone and we warmly welcome all colleagues with an interest in engaging with the student voice. We also welcome students and student reps so please do share this information with anyone you think might like to join us.

If you’d like to attend, please complete the sign up form.

Learning and Teaching Conference 2022: Call for submissions open

Education for All: Learning Together, Learning and Teaching Conference, 31 March 2022

Education for All: Learning Together, Thursday 31 March 2022 

The Learning and Teaching Conference is all about learning together, sharing effective practice and exploring an education for all.  The call for submissions is now open and we want to hear about your successes, challenges and future plans. 

The programme committee welcomes submissions linked to the following areas but get in touch if you have other ideas you’d like to share: 

  • Student voice 
  • Co-creation of the curriculum 
  • Changing practice through the pandemic 
  • Wellbeing and mental health 
  • Novel and varied assessment methods 
  • Designing inclusive learning 
  • Decolonising the curriculum 
  • Impact through collaboration
  • Education for sustainable development

The conference is open to everyone involved in learning and teaching – students, academic colleagues, professional services colleagues, technicians and external collaborators. All are invited to submit a proposal for the conference and to register as a delegate.

We very much hope to run our conference day this year as a present in-person event in the Frederick Douglass Centre, with online workshops taking place over the conference week. However, if this is not possible we will move to a fully online event.

We encourage submissions from all of our campuses and if you can’t attend in person you can get involved virtually by delivering an online workshop during the conference week or submitting a lightning talk video. 

Deadline for submissions: 14 January 2022

Submit your proposal here.

Registration Open

All colleagues and students are invited to attend the learning and teaching conference and we are looking forward to seeing you all there.

Colleagues can register here.

Students can register here.


If you have any questions, get in touch with the conference team .

University Education Development Fund

Group of students

The University Education Development Fund supports colleagues to undertake projects with real benefit to students’ education at Newcastle University.  

Two strands of funding are available:  

  • Up to £2,500 for projects focused within an individual academic unit, or across multiple areas through the Responsive strand.  
  • Up to £10,000 for projects with collaboration across academic units through the Strategic strand.  

Chaired by the PVC Education this fund support projects which further the aims and key themes of the Education Strategy and applications in the areas of UN Sustainable Development Goals and decolonising the curriculum agenda would be welcome. 

Application deadline for 2021-22:  

Friday 19 November 2021, 17:00 

Full information and guidance notes available online.  Contact for queries  

Applying for recognition as Principal Fellow of the HEA

Colleagues shaking hands

Principal Fellow of the HEA (UKPSF Descriptor 4) workshops

We are hosting two sessions to support those applying for recognition as Principal Fellow of the HEA (UKPSF Descriptor 4). The first is a workshop to support those thinking about applying or wanting more information before they start their application. The second is a writing retreat to support those already in the process of developing an application. See below for booking links and more information. Both are campus-based events.

Readiness for Principal Fellowship Workshop – Thursday 11 November 2021, 1-4pm
This workshop is aimed at those with a role in strategic leadership of learning and teaching who want to apply for recognition as a Principal Fellow of the HEA

Principal Fellowship Writing Retreat – Tuesday 30 November 2021, 9-5pm
A focused day of writing to enable colleagues who have started creating an application for Principal Fellowship to dedicate time to developing/completing their submission

Feel free to get in touch if you’d like further information or to discuss our support of Principal Fellowship.

Contact for queries:

Teaching Excellence Awards 2021/22 Advance HE CATE and NTFS Roadshows

Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence and National Teaching Fellowship logos

Advance HE, in collaboration with the Association of National Teaching Fellows (ANTF) and the CATE Winners’ Network (CATE-Net) will be again presenting a series of virtual roadshows to support those interested in applying for the Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) or the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS). Each webinar will focus exclusively on either the NTFS or CATE.

More information on our Teaching Excellence Awards can be found on the Advance HE website. Please sign up to any of these roadshows events via the specific booking links below.

The University process to determine the institutional nominees to the 2021/22 Advance HE National Teaching Fellowship Scheme and Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence is open and the deadline for applications is Wednesday 10 November 2021 at 12 noon. For information on the University application process please visit this Learning and Teaching blog post.

NTFS Roadshows

Facilitated by ANTF Committee Events co-ordinator, Professor Debbie Holley and Advance HE Fellowship and Awards Adviser Dr Holly Earl, these webinars will offer insights and guidance through the NTFS application process.

Webinar One: Thinking about a NTFS application, Wednesday 3 November 2021, 12.00-13:00

This first webinar will cover the new guidance for institutes and individuals, highlight useful Advance HE resources, and include new award winners and ‘old’ hands sharing their journey to NTF.

Webinar Two: A conversation with successful NTFs, Tuesday 7 December 2021, 13.00 -14:00

This second webinar will offer a brief re-cap of the scheme and highlight updates. It will also feature some personal journeys from existing National Teaching Fellows. There will be plenty of time to ask our panel questions.

Webinar Three: Polishing your application: Institutional/Individual perspectives, Tuesday 18 January 2022 12:00-13:00

This third webinar will briefly re-cap the previous two sessions, and the panel will include a representative responsible for staff development in our institutions, to offer the institutional viewpoint about the scheme, as well as successful NTFs happy to share their experiences.

CATE Roadshows

Facilitated by CATE-Net Lead, Professor Mark O’Hara and Advance HE Fellowship and Awards Adviser Dr Holly Earl, each webinar will offer an overview of the Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) and guidance on the application process for those interested in applying.

The CATE webinar will be repeated on three dates. Each session will include a brief introduction to CATE and an overview of the professional and institutional benefits. The CATE 2021-22 application process will be outlined and there will be practical guidance and suggestions from previous CATE winners, plus time for question and answers.

Tuesday 2 November 2021, 13.00-14.00
Wednesday 8 December 2021, 11.00-12.00
Tuesday 11 January 2022, 12.00-13.00

National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) and Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) : University application process

Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence and National Teaching Fellowship logos

The internal call for 2022 NTF and CATE nominations has now ended (deadline for nominations was Wednesday 10 November 2021 at 12.00 noon).

Application to be an institutional NTF nominee

Nominations will be considered at a panel meeting in November, chaired by the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education and consisting of current Newcastle NTFs and members of the Learning and Teaching Development Service. All higher education providers are eligible to enter three nominations to NTF. Following this panel meeting the 3 successful nominees will work with NTF mentors to develop their full claim submitted to Advance HE in March 2022.

Application to be an institutional CATE nominee

Nominations will be considered at a panel meeting in November, chaired by the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education and consisting of current Newcastle NTF/CATE winners and members of the Learning and Teaching Development Service. All higher education providers are eligible to enter one team that can clearly demonstrate having an impact on teaching and learning through collaboration. Following this panel meeting the successful team will work with CATE mentors to develop their full claim submitted to Advance HE in March 2022.

For further information get in touch with

Learning and Teaching Conference, Save the Date: 31 March 2022

The Learning and Teaching Conference 2022 will showcase effective, creative and collaborative approaches to learning and teaching across the University.

We are planning an in-person event with opportunities to engage with online events over the conference week.  Call for papers and registration information coming soon. Keep an eye on the conference website for the most up to date information.


Authentic Assessment with Professor Tina Overton

Tina Overton

SAgE Faculty presentation on Authentic Assessment with Professor Tina Overton

Conversations about more authentic forms of assessment have proliferated of late, as Universities everywhere had to rethink assessment formats at short notice.

We are delighted and honoured that Professor Tina Overton has kindly agreed to work with the SAgE Faculty to help us examine how we currently think about assessment in STEM disciplines.

In this one-hour online session, Tina will share her experiences of implementing authentic assessment in Chemistry at Monash University, drawing from her distinguished career in STEM education.

A presentation will be followed by a Q&A session where you can raise issues of interest or concern about assessment in STEM subjects with Tina.

The session will be recorded and made available afterwards.

Time: Sep 15, 2021, 14:00 London

Colleagues can sign up here.

SAgE Faculty workshops on Authentic Assessment with Professor Tina Overton

In this one-hour online workshop, presented twice, Tina will encourage you to rethink your approach to assessment, to consider where you might already be providing authentic assessments, and to reflect on where and how you might want to do more in your programmes/modules. Supported by colleagues in LTDS, the session will be recorded and made available afterwards.

Workshop 1

Time: Sep 30, 2021 13:00-14:00 London.

Or Workshop 2

Time: Oct 4, 2021 13:00-14:00 London

Colleagues can sign up for either workshop here.

Biography: Professor Tina Overton

Tina was until recently Director of the Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence, having previously been Distinguished Professor at Monash University where she successfully implemented large scale moves to active and context-based learning and authentic assessment in Chemistry. She has a 20 year plus track record in STEM education and is passionate about improving the student learning experience.

If you have any queries about these events please get in touch with

You might also be interested in other upcoming learning and teaching events and webinars.