Through the National HE STEM Programme work took place to transfer and embed the activities and outcomes of the four disciplinary pilot projects within the higher education sector. A good practice guide was produced to bring together the collective learning from these pilot projects.
Each learned society also undertook a range of new activities, particularly in relation to addressing the higher-level skills agenda of the Programme.
Chemistry for our Future (Royal Society of Chemistry)
The work of the Royal Society of Chemistry within the National HE STEM Programme focused upon four strands:
- Spectroscopy in a Suitcase: An opportunity for higher education institutions to engage with schools through hands-on and interactive activities using specialist equipment made available nationally.
- Context and Problem Based Learning: Improving the undergraduate teaching and learning experience through an approach to delivery that is recognised to increase student engagement with a subject and aid the development of higher-level skills.
- Employer Engagement: The implementation of new approaches within chemistry to include the development of business skills, commercial awareness, and commercial skills courses, reflective portfolios, advisory boards and placements.
- School Teacher Fellows: The secondment of teachers to work within higher education institutions for a year working on a range of activities aimed at improving retention, enhancing teaching and learning, and developing relationships with schools and colleges.
London Engineering Project (Royal Academy of Engineering)
Three areas formed the focus of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s work through the Programme:
- Curriculum innovation.
- Engineering for society (including widening participation and diversity).
- Educational research.
The widening participation projects were distinct from outreach in that they were focused on curriculum development or research that enabled access to higher education for diverse groups (whereas outreach is targeted at school pupils). Projects focused on Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups, adults, females and first generation higher education entrants. Of the projects initiated through the Royal Academy of Engineering, project leaders were encouraged to engage with employers and collaborate with other universities in order to pool expertise.
A booklet of collated case studies is available which brings together the learning from the Royal Academy of Engineering’s work throughout the National HE STEM Programme.
More Maths Grads (The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications)
Although overseen by the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications the mathematical sciences activities of the Programme were led by several different mathematical organisations and this reflected the collaborative nature of the approach to delivering the More Maths Grads initiative.
The mathematical sciences strand of the Programme:
Stimulating Physics (Institute of Physics)
The Institute of Physics worked in conjunction with the partners of the Programme on a range of activities including:
- Integrated Sciences: The development of an interdisciplinary sciences degree in conjunction with the University of Leicester and London South Bank University. In 2015 the Institute of Physics produced a briefing paper outlining how its work through the Programme led to a number of new physics degrees.
- Repackaging Physics: Explored how the way physics degrees are presented to students may be altered so as to try and attract a broader cohort to the subject. Based upon this work at the University of Salford, the traditional physics degree course has been transformed in order to combine a high quality teaching programme with activities that give students a greater understanding of physics in the workplace and where their degree can take them.
- Physics Lives and Careers Clips: The Physics Lives films focus on four university research physicists and what they do in their working lives; the Careers Clips showcase some exciting careers available to those studying physics to A-Level and higher. Both sets of resources are intended for classroom use and align with the GCSE curriculum.
- Teacher Fellowships Scheme: Guidance for university departments on implementing their own Teacher Fellowship Schemes, where a teacher is seconded from a school to work in a university department. The published report contains key recommendations on how departments can improve their teaching, learning and outreach activities.
- Industrial visits: Publication of a guide for schools and companies giving key recommendations on how to set up an industrial visit.
- Group Industrial Projects: Transferring an approach towards undergraduate group projects, first developed at Durham University, that involved students solving real industrial problems to help them gain valuable skills and experience to a further 15 physics departments.
- Problem Based Learning in Physics: In partnership with the Centre for Interdisciplinary Science at the University of Leicester, the Institute of Physics created fifteen Problem Based Learning (PBL) modules that can be adopted by university lecturers for their own teaching needs. The modules cover both physics and broader integrated sciences topics.
- Public Engagement with Physics: Development of a guide that helps an organiser produce a high quality public engagement activity by leading them through all phases of the process - development, delivery and evaluation. Although produced by the Institute of Physics, its content is relevant to all disciplines.
Updated, and further resources developed by the Institute of Physics since the conclusion of the Programme can be downloaded from the Institute of Physics' National Higher Education STEM Programme web page.