excellence

Annual Report 2007

Academic excellence

Ofsted praise for teacher training

The University continues to provide its future teachers with the very best chance of success. The University was awarded ‘Grade 1: Outstanding’ for the quality of its secondary school teacher training in April 2007. Both initial secondary and primary teacher training at the University are judged to be in the Ofsted ‘outstanding’ category, confirming our national reputation for excellence. Ofsted’s report drew on evidence from an inspection of the training and of the management and quality assurance arrangements. Key strengths praised by the inspectors included the coherence between all elements of the training, the excellent individualised training programmes, the well-structured assessment of trainees, the strong partnership arrangements, and committed leadership.  

Our research at your fingertips

In February 2007, Wolverhampton became one of the first UK universities to launch an electronic institutional repository for our research output. Wolverhampton Intellectual Repository and E-Theses (WIRE) is an Open Access online collection of published peer-reviewed research and doctoral theses by University of Wolverhampton staff. This web-based service maximises access to our research by making it searchable via Internet search engines such as Google.

Transforming the learning landscape

In April 2007, the University of Wolverhampton announced developments totaling £2.5m to transform the learning and working environment for students and staff. This included the creation of new staff posts in key academic areas, including new lecturers in Education, Social Work, Legal Studies, Engineering and Built Environment, Performing Arts and Sport. Emphasis has also been placed on improving IT and audio-visual facilities, as the University secures its reputation as a national leader in technology-supported learning.

Virtual assistance

In 2007, Wolverhampton became one of the first universities in the country to offer ASSIST, a virtual reference service which enables students to ‘chat’ online to a librarian. The user can ask a question and get a response within two or three minutes. ASSIST can also provide help with finding online and print resources, how to reference information and advice on how to research assignments.

Farsighted initiatives

Language initiatives run by the University of Wolverhampton have led to a surge in young people studying languages across the region – bucking the national trend. During 2007, the West Midlands was the only area in the country where language learners have significantly increased and the University is now working with secondary schools across the country to replicate its success.

 

The work was brought together by the Black Country Languages Pathfinder, aimed at developing languages for 14-19 year olds. It included short courses in Punjabi as part of a modern apprenticeship programme in two NHS Trusts, where the language was identified as particularly relevant. There was also a successful initiative to introduce Mandarin as part of the Year 11 Business Studies curriculum. Within the University, intake to modern languages increased and the demand for short courses in Japanese at basic and intermediate level more than doubled. There was also a healthy increase in the number of students wishing to learn Mandarin.

Our courses have industry approval

During 2007, the University was given full approval by the prestigious professional industry body the Chartered Institute of Public Relations for its new degree in Public Relations. The University passed a rigorous investigation by the CIPR to ensure that it met its exacting standards.

 

The University is leading the way in crime scene investigation and forensics training thanks to a partnership between the University of Wolverhampton and West Midlands Police. Together, they are pioneering new technology which will deliver enhanced training opportunities for officers and students. Dr Raul Sutton, Forensic Science Subject Group Leader, worked with Police crime scene trainer and visiting lecturer Chief Inspector Keith Trueman to create an interactive CD-ROM to train officers in crime scene preservation and evidence recovery. The programme has since been adapted for online use by students.

 

In July 2007, collaborative efforts between the Universities of Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Warwick and Coventry resulted in the first large scale training for Physician Assistants in the UK. The new Postgraduate Diploma in Physician Assistant Studies, which is supported by NHS West Midlands (Strategic Health Authority), involves intensive training over two years. Physician Assistants are an entirely new healthcare role in the UK, working alongside doctors in hospitals and in GP surgeries, although they are a well established profession in the United States. The course curriculum reflects the versatile nature of the role, focusing principally on general medicine in General Practice and hospital settings.

Valued learning resources

During 2007, the University of Wolverhampton was rated as one of the best in the country for the quality of its learning resources and for the availability of specialist equipment. The results of the third National Student Survey revealed Wolverhampton is rated highly for learning resources at 84%, compared with a national average of 80%.