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Technical and Professional Excellence: Perspectives on learning and teaching

University Alliance today publishes a new collection of essays on teaching excellence, outlining bold new thinking from leaders in higher education.

Exploring the themes of innovation and excellence in the context of Alliance universities’ distinctive model of professional and technical education, external contributors to the collection include:

  • Office for Students Chair Sir Michael Barber, in one of his first major interventions since his appointment the role, writing on the new regulatory body’s approach to supporting innovative practice
  • British Council Chief Executive Sir Ciarán Devane on global graduates and the value of international experience
  • The National Union of Students’ Hannah Sketchley Sarah Kerton on co-creation
  • The CBI’s Neil Carberryon the role of employers in the design and delivery of curricula

Alongside these, contributions from Alliance universities examine different aspects of excellent teaching including learning spaces that inspire, enterprise education, learning by doing and engaging employers.

Commenting University Alliance Chief Executive Maddalaine Ansell said:

“Britain’s higher education system encompasses distinct models of excellence in teaching and learning. This diversity is both a strength and a source of innovation.

“Excellent teaching has always been at the heart of what Alliance universities do. This is shaped by close engagement with industry and the professions, characterised by teaching and assessment in real-world settings and underpinned by supporting all students to succeed.

“Given the continuing importance of this agenda in HE policy, our collection of essays is designed to inform discussion, spur debate and encourage reflection on the attributes which make teaching and learning truly excellent.”


 The full list of contributions in Technical and Professional Excellence: Perspectives on learning and teaching, alongside a foreword by Chief Executive of University Alliance and an afterword by Dr Sam Grogan, Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience, University of Salford, are:

  • ‘Innovation in teaching: tidy is good, so is untidy’ by Sir Michael Barber, Chair, Office for Students
  • ‘The employer perspective’ by Neil Carberry, Managing Director of Infrastructure & People, CBI
  • ‘Global graduates’ by Sir Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive, British Council
  • ‘Blurring the boundaries: co-creation in technical education and across the sector’ by Hannah Sketchley, Policy Officer, NUS and Sarah Kerton, Policy Analyst, NUS
  • ‘Learning by doing’ by Ian Dunn, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Coventry University
  • ‘The Success for All programme: challenging the assumptions’ by Eunice Simmons, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Nottingham Trent University
  • ‘Engaging employers’ by Tim Thornton, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Huddersfield
  • ‘Enterprise education’ by Jane Turner, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Teesside University
  • ‘Spaces that inspire’ by Mike Clark, Director of Estates and Facilities Management, University of Brighton and Chair of the Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE) and Stan Stanier, Assistant Director of Information Services, University of Brighton
  • ‘A provocation’ by Mark Leach, Director, Wonkhe