Sheffield Hallam University: Criminology

When the Criminology team at Sheffield Hallam University built a first year curriculum, it had a number of different goals: to raise student aspirations, welcome them as members of a large and diverse learning community and foster a sense of identity and belonging. To deliver all on all of these, their approach included a strong co-creation element.

To increase the students’ confidence and develop graduates’ capabilities they used challenges posed by public, charity and social enterprise organisations.  For example, South Yorkshire Police provided a remit to develop and deliver teaching materials to a range of local school children, based on the causes and solutions of specific crimes such as cyber-bullying and hate crime.

These challenges enabled students to place contemporary topics in context, and allowed them to work alongside sector experts, service providers and local school children to develop creative solutions to real-life problems.  As always with live, real-world challenges, the answers do not yet exist.  They can only be co-created as the activities progress.

These authentic learning experiences led to a shift in focus of skills development, to move from ‘thinking about doing’ to ‘doing’ – providing both a bridge between school/college and university as well as a framework around which other learning and support activities could be wrapped.  To achieve this, the teams involved moved beyond the boundaries of accepted practice by viewing the first year experience through students’ eyes rather through the roles of individuals and teams.

I enjoyed it all, I’d love to do it again. I would have enjoyed more of a tour too! I learned loads about what hate crime is and how to report itStudent

Since its introduction in 2015/16, overall attainment has improved significantly across all first year modules. The project builds and extends the innovative teaching strategies that previously won the British Society of Criminology Teaching Award in 2014. It also reflects the commitment of staff involved to provide an outstanding student experience.  The project was shortlisted for an HEA Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence in 2016.

Contact with external partners is sourced through the Sheffield Hallam University’s award-winning Venture Matrix Scheme, which has been delivering experiential learning opportunities across all faculties at the university for 10 years.

What a brilliant day, we have really enjoyed it and our pupils have learned so much and taken away some really important messages. Thank you for a fantastic experience. Staff

Further reading