U21 Educational Innovation Conference

Start Date
26 October 2016
End Date
28 October 2016
University of Birmingham
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‘What is Teaching Excellence in a Contemporary Research-Intensive University?’


The purpose of this conference is for U21 colleagues to come together, with international experts in the field, to design a ‘Position Statement’ on the unique features of research-led teaching/education in a contemporary research-intensive university. The Position Statement emerging from this conference will make an important contribution to the ongoing work of the U21 Educational Innovation Cluster on developing, enhancing, recognising and rewarding teaching excellence in a research intensive context; this work is due to be presented to U21 Presidents at their Annual General Meeting in May 2017. U21 delegates at the conference will have the opportunity to reflect on existing evidence about teaching excellence in higher education, situate this evidence in the challenges facing contemporary research-intensive universities, revisit the meaning of ‘research-led teaching/education’ and to ensure that their views, and those of their institutions, form part of U21’s work in educational innovation.




Research excellence has been evaluated for some time at national and international levels, resulting in a range of rankings and league tables. Inevitably, these high stakes evaluations drive particular institutional behaviours. In a number of areas including the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand and in the US and Canada, possible metrics that may be capable of measuring the quality of university teaching are increasingly being sought. For example, in the UK, this had led to the launch of a new teaching excellence evaluation framework which will result in national rankings based on a range of proxy measures of ‘teaching quality’.

In the current political context in the UK, research-intensive universities (like a number of their international counterparts) have struggled to articulate the unique features of their education provision and politicians remain unconvinced of the inherent value of ‘research-led teaching’. There are lessons here for research-intensives around the world. In a context that is characterised by a growing consumerist view of university education, greater accountability for outcomes, pressure to equate teaching quality with the number of contact hours, and a trend towards open - and much quicker - access to research findings which are freely available to all types of institutions, there is a need to redefine the unique nature of education in a research-intensive university.




The structure of the meeting will take the form of a series of expert inputs followed by working group (WG) sessions led by a facilitator. Each delegate will be placed in a WG that will meet 4 times over the course of the meeting. The WGs will use the evidence presented to build cumulatively towards a U21 position statement that will be ratified by all participants. Pre-reading will be circulated on Friday 30thSeptember.




Outcomes from the WG sessions will be developed into a draft U21 Position Statement on ‘Teaching Excellence in a Contemporary Research-Intensive University’ which will be circulated to all participants after the conference for comment and finally for ratification. The statement can then be made available on the U21 website by the end of December 2016 and will be presented to U21 Presidents at their Annual General Meeting in May 2017.  The statement can be used by U21 members to underpin teaching excellence developments in their own countries. The idea of ranking universities by teaching excellence may not have reached your country yet…but I predict it will, and research intensives need to be prepared!




A full programme is available to dowload at the end of the events page, for further information please contact Lavinia Winegar-Gott.

How To Register



Please follow the 'Register Here' link at the bottom of the page and complete the registration questions.


Further details, including hotel information is available below:


Meeting venue

The meeting will be held in Winterbourne House and Gardens on the campus of the University. Please see http://www.winterbourne.org.uk/ for further details. Winterbourne has a suite of lecture and breakout discussion rooms. Winterbourne is within 200m walking distance of the on-campus accommodation at Lucas House.



Rooms have been reserved in Lucas House on campus from Tuesday 25th to Friday 28th October, and in the Radisson Blu hotel in central Birmingham (approximately 500m from Birmingham New Street station). There are frequent trains from Birmingham New Street to the University (own station) and to Birmingham International station and airport.


For details of the Radisson Blu, please look at https://www.radissonblu.com/en/hotel-birmingham.  Guests can quote UNIVER when booking by phone or by using this code when making an online booking.  Rooms will be available at a preferential rate until 28 days prior to the Conference; individual cancellation policy will be 6pm on the day of arrival.

PLEASE NOTE: Deadline for securing rooms under the block booking is 26 September


For details of Lucas House, please look at http://www.venuebirmingham.com/?q=sleep.  Guests can quote U21EIC16 when booking by phone, or by using code this when making an online booking.  Rooms will be available at the preferential rate until 6 weeks before the Conference.


Conference dinner

The formal conference dinner will be held on Thursday 27 October in Hornton Grange, directly opposite the Lucas House accommodation.


Other information

There will be an optional tour immediately after the final session on Wednesday 27 October of the University’s Barber Institute of Fine Arts

Please click on the link below to register! 



PLEASE NOTE: Deadline for registrations is 26 September

Lavinia Winegar-Gott, Educational Innovation Cluster Manager