King's hosts Festival of Learning
Posted on 29/09/2010
Students in a lecture theatre
King’s College London, in collaboration with the University of Warwick, yesterday hosted the Festival of Learning, the culmination of the King’s Warwick Project drawing on the outcomes as well as wider examples of innovation in teaching and learning from other universities.
During the project King’s and Warwick undertook a fundamental review of their approach to undergraduate curricula, to ensure that they continue to be at the forefront of high quality education, offering a distinctive and engaging curriculum.
The project included a major study of 25 research-intensive institutions worldwide, on 5 continents. Its aim was to make sure that all undergraduates will experience a distinctive education that will draw on the College's strengths - its research, its position at the heart of a capital city, its international outlook and its interdisciplinary work.
Professor Paul Blackmore, Director of King's Learning Institute, comments, ‘The project found that many institutions are fundamentally reviewing their curricula, sometimes for market positioning and sometimes in response to external economic or social changes. The process of change commonly takes five or more years. One common theme was that of managing the tension between discipline-focused study and a wider preparation for life and work. We like to think that there is a middle path here, and one that many already tread. If universities ever were a collection of mono-disciplinary cultures unconcerned with the world, that certainly is not true today.
‘We noted that some of the most interesting work was taking place beyond the formal curriculum – in the co-curriculum. Some of the best initiatives were offering students experiences that enabled them to put their formal learning into context and to develop some of the abilities that would help them in the world beyond the university.’
The Principal, Professor Rick Trainor, opened the event and introduced the four internationally renowned key note speakers at the forefront of curriculum change. Professor Steve Fuller, The University of Warwick, spoke about the role that universities can and should play in society; David Hays, The University of Chicago, reported on a highly successful initiative at the University of Chicago that has made the idea of serving the community a reality for thousands of students; Professor Bryan MacGregor, The University of Aberdeen; explored some of the challenges in changing curricula in a traditional and research-led institution and Professor Amy Tsui, The University of Hong Kong, offered a perspective from Hong Kong on the importance of global citizenship and the ways in which universities can foster that ideal.
The King’s-Warwick project is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
For more information visit: http://kingslearning.info/kwp/
Notes to Editors
King's College London
King's College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (Times Higher Education 2009) and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King's has nearly 23,000 students (of whom more than 8,600 are graduate students) from nearly 140 countries, and some 5,500 employees. King's is in the second phase of a £1 billion redevelopment programme which is transforming its estate.
King's has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise for British universities, 23 departments were ranked in the top quartile of British universities; over half of our academic staff work in departments that are in the top 10 per cent in the UK in their field and can thus be classed as world leading. The College is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of nearly £450 million.
King's has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, the sciences (including a wide range of health areas such as psychiatry, medicine, nursing and dentistry) and social sciences including international affairs. It has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA and research that led to the development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe; no university has more Medical Research Council Centres.
King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are part of King's Health Partners. King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering global collaboration between one of the world's leading research-led universities and three of London's most successful NHS Foundation Trusts, including leading teaching hospitals and comprehensive mental health services. For more information, visit: www.kingshealthpartners.org.