skip to content

Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning

 
Students working on a collaborative task at a table with pens and paper

Introduction

The collegiate University committed in the Access & Participation Plan (2020-25) to ensure that "our students achieve their potential, through the full and active participation in their education", to make "the Cambridge experience richer and more diverse for everyone through our curricular, teaching, learning and assessment practices" and to address identified awarding gaps among Black British undergraduates and students with mental health conditions.

One key step towards realising this ambition was identified in the APP as the development of a new strategy for academic, employability and life skills, to be approved by the General Board's Education Committee (GBEC) and the Senior Tutors' Committee (STC). The APP committed the Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning to developing support for and encouraging the integration of skills development into teaching & assessment practices, curricula and review processes.

 

Development of the Strategy

The premises and priorities of the Skills Strategy were developed in consultation with an Advisory Group including students and staff, with feedback from the Senior Tutors' Education Committee and the Graduate Tutors' Committee in June 2020, and with feedback from the STC and GBEC. The Skills Strategy was endorsed by the STC and GBEC in Michaelmas Term 2020.

The STC and GBEC agreed that the Strategy should support a move away from a 'deficit model' understanding of skills and that there should be a strong focus on developing a shared discourse around 'skills'. For the purposes of the Skills Strategy, the term 'skills' variously encompasses 'academic', 'employability' and 'life' skills.

 

Premises

  1. That skills and knowledge are interrelated with each other
  2. That the collegiate University aims at achieving ever greater clarity, both for and with students and educators, on what we are educating students to be and to do
  3. That all educators (including supervisors, lecturers, College tutors, librarians) are supported to understand and to carry out their roles in helping students develop skills
  4. That students understand the importance and centrality of their own actions in shaping their education
  5. That the collegiate University commits to fostering among students an inclusive culture of constructive engagement toward their own educational and personal aims
  6. That the collegiate University acknowledges the existence of pedagogical and social obstacles to student achievement and continues to work to dismantle these obstacles through engaging in reflective, critical self-assessment of whether and how some students have more opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills than others
  7. That the collegiate University recognises the many different student learning journeys and aims to support those different journeys in order to disrupt social inequalities
  8. That a central way to disrupt inequality is to ensure access to disciplinary knowledge; thus curriculum will be a primary focus of the Skills Strategy
  9. That students are able to make sense of how to take forward their Cambridge education in their future lives
  10. That the collegiate University commits to regular review, reflection and renewal of a Skills Strategy

 

Priorities

  1. Achieve ever greater clarity on what we are educating students to be and to do
    1. Develop a shared discourse around what we mean by 'skills'
    2. Link up the many existing efforts to support skills development in terms of transitioning into, through and out of Cambridge
    3. Embed skills development clearly into the curriculum
    4. Communicate to students clearly the knowledge and skills they are expected to develop
       
  2. Work towards greater educational equality and towards removing barriers to achievement
    1. Commit to making teaching and learning practices as well as curricula more inclusive
    2. Ensure targeted staff support and development, including teaching roles, College roles, academic-support roles and their respective responsibilities in the development of student skills
    3. Ensure student engagement and support, including undertaking qualitative research with students to investigate the perspectives of students and to recognise students' agency
       
  3. Better prepare students for purposeful, meaningful endeavours after their current course of study
    1. Implement targeted interventions to understand the factors or structural issues that affect student learning or student experiences and that lead to the progressions gap
    2. Analyse data on the progressions gap to employment or to further studies
    3. Widen access to information and services supporting progression after completion of course of study
       
  4. Review of Skills Strategy
    1. Formatively review the Skills Strategy action plan and recommendations on an annual basis