What CAI does

The Centre for Academic Innovation (CAI) is De Montfort University’s hub for developments in pedagogic praxis and associated practical research.

CAI supports and disseminates teaching and learning good practice across the university and beyond, and our aim is to become a world-leading centre of pedagogic and academic innovation and excellence, with a focus on enhancing and disrupting the learning and teaching experience.

At DMU, CAI promotes academic innovation projects and provides information, advice, and guidance for this and other forms of pedagogical support. CAI explores, supports and facilitates innovative best practice in the transformation of assessment, learning and curriculum development. We encourage and facilitate enhancement, engagement, and transformational thinking and activities within the teaching and learning experience, supporting pedagogic innovation and providing leadership.

Download CAI's leaflet (.pdf)

Read CAI's 2019-20 annual report to find out more. 


CAI runs a number of seminars, conferences and festivals throughout the year to support teaching and learning across the university, with the ultimate objective of enhancing the student experience and generating curriculum currency and curiosity. These include:

Annual DMU Teaching and Learning Conference

This conference brings together our educators, students, researchers and practitioners to exchange and share best practice and pedagogyIt also provides a platform to present and discuss our most recent innovations, trends and concerns as well as practical challenges encountered and solutions adopted.

Teaching, learning and personal tutoring mini-conference

The main Teaching and Learning conference this academic year has moved from September 2020 to February 2021. In its place, on Friday 11 September, DMU's Centre for Academic Innovation (CAI) held a virtual mini-conference on teaching, learning and personal tutoring in the context of Covid-19 and social distancing.

The conference was held on Microsoft Teams and attracted around 200 delegates from our Academic and Professional Services staff.

Delegates were able to select four presentations to attend from a choice of 20 and join a panel discussion in the afternoon. Professor Jackie Labbe commented on the efforts in adapting to our new teaching and learning environment in her keynote speech.

The conference provided an opportunity for staff to come together virtually and discuss the important issues confronting higher education at this time.

Take a look at the resources from the conference.

CAI Seminar/Masterclass series

CAI hosts a seminar and masterclass series. The seminar series focuses on providing a space for academics, students and practitioners to engage in deep conversations about a particular topic in deep and critical ways. The masterclasses are spaces for experts to showcase examples of great practice and transfer skills, knowledge and values to other lecturers. Both of these focus on academic and pedagogic innovation and disruption with internal and externally invited speakers.

Book a seminar (internal access only)

DMU Festival of Teaching

Further information (internal access only)
The annual DMU Festival of Teaching takes place in the spring. The Centre for Academic Innovation (CAI) and Library and Learning Services jointly lead the delivery of the project with DMU's Public Engagement Department as a key partner. Festival events take place across places and spaces on campus and in the city. It is a celebration of learning and teaching, a thank you to the city, and a showcase for the talents and passion of DMU staff as they support learning through their vibrant teaching.



Student Action Committee

This group of students have the opportunity to share their views on learning and teaching at DMU and develop solutions to address any concerns they possess. The format is a participatory approach to the co-production of knowledge, with students positioned as both students and teachers in a dialogical process.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Click here to learn more about UDL.

Educational leadership

Working with individuals, programmes, departments, schools, faculties and external bodies, we work to address challenges in learning and teaching, and identify innovative pedagogic solutions. We develop and design effective interventions to improve our pedagogic delivery.

Research-informed teaching

CAI places research-informed teaching and teaching-informed research at the heart of what it does by supporting individuals and subject groups to recognise the symbiotic relationship between teaching and research and to develop programmes that enhance teaching and learning across DMU and beyond. CAI curates a learning space which is designed to be flexible, open and engaging; encouraging staff to share and disseminate their practice and explore new methods and opportunities.

Take a look at the Journal of Critical Southern Studies and our Gateway papers.

CAI Sabbatical Fellowship

Click here to learn more about the Sabbatical Fellowship.

Events at DMU

At DMU there is always something to do or see, check out our events for yourself.

News target area image

DMU is a dynamic university, read about what we have been up to in our latest news section.

Mission and vision target area image
Mission and vision

Read about our mission and vision and how these create a supportive and exciting learning environment.