Approaches to learning and teaching within the University are constantly evolving. Through its investment in the best that technology and pedagogy can offer, the University has created an ideal environment where students can realise their full potential. During 2010, efforts to optimise learning opportunities met with further success.
The University has an enviable record for enhancing the learning journeys of its students through its use of innovative technology. In May 2010, the University was officially acknowledged as a world leader.
The University’s ‘high impact’ use of technology to support learning and achievement was officially recognised at the Instructional Management Systems (IMS) Learning Impact Awards, which took place in California. The University triumphed, amid tough international competition from educational institutions across the world, to win a platinum award in the category of established use of technology.
A desire to enhance the cultural experience for students and the wider community is at the heart of the University’s latest building project. During 2010, work officially began on The Performance Hub, a multi-million pound performing arts centre. Taking shape on Walsall Campus, The Performance Hub will provide advanced teaching and performance space for dance, drama and music students. It will incorporate a black box performance space with flexible seating, capable of hosting small-scale student, community and professional performances.
The Centre, which is due for completion in August 2011, offers exciting opportunities to create and deliver courses in tune with the Creative Industries Agenda – making Walsall a destination of choice for those seeking opportunity and excellence in the performing arts.
In September 2010, the University celebrated the official opening of the School of Technology (STech). The creation of STech marks a significant development in our programme of consolidation across Academic Schools. The new School optimises expertise from the former Schools of Computing and Information Technology, and Engineering and the Built Environment; ensuring greater cohesion across the delivery of related disciplines through its advanced, technology-driven course portfolio.
Following the successful launch of Learning Works, which refocused all our undergraduate courses, the University began the review of its core postgraduate offerings.
The new postgraduate taught portfolio will be launched in September 2011 and students will begin to benefit from an enhanced, employer-responsive curriculum, informed by world-class research.
Teacher training at the University received a first-rate report from the education watchdog, Ofsted. The expertise of our staff and commitment of our students were once again rewarded with the top rating of Grade 1: Outstanding for the overall effectiveness of both primary and secondary provision. The inspection, which looked at initial teacher education provision at the University, included the training of primary and secondary school teachers.
Both were rated as outstanding, whilst the University’s employment-based routes and training for further education teachers were judged to be amongst the best in the country.
The University’s commitment to improving the student experience remained a key priority for 2010. Last year, investment in excellent learning resources continued to ensure a high rate of satisfaction among students at the University.
The sixth annual National Student Survey 2010 revealed that 84% of our students were happy with the learning resources available, compared to a national average of 80%. Overall satisfaction remained high at the University, with 78% of students reporting that they were satisfied for the second year running.
An extensive redesign of the former Students’ Union, supported by the Ambika Paul Foundation, resulted in vibrant new social and study areas for our students to enjoy. Opened in November 2010 by the University’s Chancellor, The Rt Hon Lord Paul of Marylebone PC, the Ambika Paul Student Union Centre at Wolverhampton City Campus has proved to be a popular venue for students to meet, study and relax.
The Centre addresses the welfare of our student community, bringing together a coffee bar area with comfortable seating, a study zone with computers, meeting rooms and offices for the Students’ Union sabbatical officers under one roof.
In 2010, the University became one of only five universities in the UK, and the first in the West Midlands, to receive the Forensic Skillsmark for its BSc (Hons) Forensic Science course.
Awarded by Skills for Justice, the Sector Skills Council for the criminal justice sector, the Skillsmark recognised our extensive engagement with employers within the region as well as the integration of national occupational standards which are embedded within the course curriculum.
Enhancing students’ employability and creating new opportunities with businesses is the core mission of the University’s newest Institutes, which were launched last November. Bringing together expertise from different areas of the University, the Institute of Gaming and Animation, and the Institute of Media Arts are working closely with industry experts on innovative projects and research.
Institute of Gaming and Animation, which was formed to meet demands from industry to deliver advanced technology and design solutions, offers bespoke training and works with regional, national and European partners on innovative projects and applied research.
The Institute of Media Arts has active partnerships within the media industry, which help to boost student placement opportunities. It also organises successful outreach activities with school pupils and young people, and offers bespoke training.