Centre for Academic Innovation officially opens at DMU

Having received a Gold award in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) – the highest rating possible as set by the Government – De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is recognised for providing some of the best quality teaching in the UK.

As a leader for teaching excellence in higher education, DMU has launched a dedicated Centre for Academic Innovation (CAI), providing lecturers and students with a physical and virtual space to develop new and disruptive learning methods.

CAI Launch

Dr Momodou Sallah, Director of CAI, said the new centre would give experts across different disciplines the opportunity to “unleash their experience” and share best practice with their peers.

“When the concept for CAI was originally formed in 2018, our Pro Vice-Chancellor Academic, Professor Jackie Labbe, consulted with the various schools at DMU to see what our teachers felt would be most beneficial,” he said.

“The feedback we got was that they wanted the opportunity to work with other lecturers and discuss ways to improve the learning experience for students. Many of them also said they wanted more headspace to develop their own individual teaching methods.”

Momodou at CAI launch
Dr Momodou Sallah, Director of CAI

Lecturers can apply for a ‘CAI Fellowship’, which entitles them to take two weeks away from their daily role to research and develop innovative teaching and assessment tools to take back to the classroom.

“We’re looking at ways that we can support lecturers with more funding, more resources and more capacity to make the student experience more engaging,” added Dr Sallah.

The centre is the university’s main hub for developing and enhancing educational initiatives, including the Universal Design for Learning (UDL), which aims to provide an equal experience for every DMU student by tailoring their learning to meet their individual requirements with personalised support.

It provides a base for DMU Teacher Fellows and National Teaching Fellows (NTF) – the most prestigious award for teaching and learning excellence available in the UK – to collaborate and share learning from their own practice.

“DMU has one of the highest numbers of NTFs in the UK, which demonstrates the outstanding impact our lecturers and teachers have in the classroom,” continued Dr Sallah.

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The CAI is also setting up a student action group, offering a forum for students to raise issues and work together with teachers to come up with solutions.

“Happier students mean happier members of staff and vice versa,” said Dr Sallah.

Masterclasses and seminars will be hosted by the CAI each term, focusing on academic and teaching innovation with internal and external speakers, while the third DMU Learning and Teaching Festival will take place over from 23 to 29 March 2020, bringing together teachers from across the city to share ideas and celebrate learning.

Professor Jackie Labbe said she hoped the CAI would enable DMU to become the “standard bearers for innovative teaching across the sector”.

The new CAI, in the Eric Wood extension of the DMU’s Library, officially opened on Wednesday 20 November.

For more information click here.

Posted on: Tuesday 30 June 2020

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