Newsletter - January
Happy New Year to everyone, and welcome to my first newsletter of 2012! A lot seems to have happened since I last wrote in October, and I thought I should update you on developments in Teaching and Learning.
January graduations at Curve
As you will be aware, summer graduations this year will be at Curve, to cater for the much larger number of students graduating, and to allow a full supporting programme to be provided on campus. Around 20 of our final year students observed our January graduation ceremonies at Curve, and will be invited to contribute to focus groups to help us to optimise the ‘Curve experience’ further this summer. If you weren’t involved in any of the January ceremonies yourself, we also collaborated with Curve and Demon TV to provide edited video highlights of the January ceremonies which will shortly be available online, so that everyone has the opportunity to see what graduation is like in this exciting new venue.
The first cycle of Frontrunner projects has now been successfully completed. A total of 85 Frontrunner placements were advertised, most of which have now been filled. The majority of placements begin on Monday 30 January, and range in length from one to three terms. More information is available on the Frontrunners website, which will be updated regularly with future Frontrunner opportunities. Guidelines for staff wanting to apply for a Frontrunner project, as well as frequently asked questions, are available on the intranet. To keep up to date with Frontrunners, you can follow the scheme on Twitter, or email with any queries you may have. The next application round for Frontrunner projects will start on Monday 6 February, for placements beginning in June (if running over the summer vacation) or October. A call for placement proposals will be publicised soon via an all-staff email.
Through consultation with university committees and working groups, staff, students and external advisers, the Employability Strategy Group is continuing to collect proposals to incorporate into our new DMU Employability Strategy. We are now reaching the end of this first stage, and the current set of proposals is available for review by all staff and students online. If you would like to comment on any of the proposals, or suggest additional ones, then please email me before 20 February. The Employability Strategy Group will then rewrite the proposals as a DMU draft employability strategy for final consultation and confirmation through Academic Board. is available for review by all staff and students online. If you would like to comment on any of the proposals, or suggest additional ones, then please before 20 February. The Employability Strategy Group will then rewrite the proposals as a DMU draft employability strategy for final consultation and confirmation through Academic Board.
2012 graduate jobs market
Finally in relation to employability, I would like to draw your attention to this report on the 2012 graduate jobs market (and thanks Fran Vickers for alerting me to it). It has a lot of really useful non-intuitive information in it, for example, that there is actually projected to be growth in the 2012 graduate jobs market (despite miserable UK economic indicators), but that an increasing proportion of graduate posts are going to graduates who have already undertaken internships. This highlights why we all need to stress the importance of work experience, placements and internships to our students, and redouble our efforts to provide as many as we can, both at DMU (through schemes like Frontrunners and Unitemps) and externally via faculty placement units.
OMR surveys and Multiple Choice Questionnaires (MCQs)
OMR is Optical Mark Reading, and I am including this rather dry subject in my newsletter to draw attention to the fact that we are upgrading our capability to conduct paper-based surveys and MCQ tests, through a new OMR scanner and software which will shortly be installed in ITMS, and available for any faculty or department to use. Initially, the new system will be used to deliver our existing Programme-Level Feedback surveys more efficiently this year; but the system can also be used to deliver efficient paper-based MCQ phase tests or exams. I will be delivering a joint seminar and demonstration with the supplier, Speedwell, on 9 February between 12-1pm in EW1.13; this will be advertised through APDU shortly. Please email Nila Patel in APDU if you would like to attend.
DMU Student Charter
I’d like to finish this newsletter by mentioning another important initiative that is under development this year, the DMU Student Charter. The government has specified that by Summer 2012, every university should publish a student charter, developed and agreed jointly by staff and students. We have set up a Student Charter development group, with student representation from all faculties, and DSU, as well as academic and professional services staff and alumni input. Earlier this week, the group (of about 20) met for a five-hour workshop, during which we collectively sketched out our priorities in terms of Charter commitments by the university, DSU and students. The workshop output is currently being collated into the first draft of our Student Charter, and will then be circulated for widespread consultation and revision through DMU committees, DSU Student Council and open online feedback. The ultimate aim is to provide a Charter that makes clear to all DMU students and applicants not only what our (DMU and DSU) commitments are to them, but also what they should expect to contribute themselves to get the most from their student experience.
Catch up on October and July's newsletters.