Nurturing Teaching Excellence

Investing in the Education Enhancement Fund (EEF) is central to UoB's strategy for nurturing excellence in teaching.  EEF’s annual call for bids encourages staff to focus on teaching enhancement, and to develop new ideas that are enriched and informed by engagement with their students and colleagues. 

Sarah King

Sarah King

Assistant Director, Educational Development, HEFi

“Leading a project is evidence of a developing career in educational leadership and is recognised as such in the HEFi Award and Recognition Framework. Many project leads have gone on to achieve Senior Fellowship of the HEA, as well as sector recognition through external awards and publications.”

Grant holders tell us that EEF gives valuable time and space away from ‘the day job’, allowing creativity to flourish and new approaches to key challenges to be imagined. Involvement in EEF offers valuable professional development opportunities and work undertaken on projects has been important for career progression. A number of outstanding projects have been recognised through the HEFI Awards for Educational Enhancement and Innovation.

Kathy Armour presents Education Enhancement Award to EEF Project Lead
EEF Project Leads enjoy the Education Enhancement Awards Dinner
Education Enhancement Awards Winners, including EEF Project Leads, display their award certificates

EEF Success Stories 

Karl Nightingale, College of Medical and Dental Sciences

Karl's EEF Video The Education Enhancement Fund: What has it done for me? describes the success of his EEF project.

Nicki Ward, College of Social Sciences

"If you have a project that you are passionate about but are struggling to find the time and support to develop it I would thoroughly recommend the EEF as a route to achieving your aims."
"I have had the opportunity of developing a number of initiatives which focus on developing LGBTQ+ inclusivity in the curriculum. Having the financial support of the Education Enhancement Fund made it possible for me to focus on these important issues. The grants helped me to build in capacity into my own workload as well as appointing dedicated research fellows to work solely on these projects. This financial support, alongside the support of our mentor and the collegiality of HEFi colleagues has resulted in significant impact in this area. The work we have been able to conduct on LGBTQ+ inclusivity has been acknowledged nationally and internationally enhancing the reputation of the University as a leader in this area as well as enabling me to develop my own CV and improve my promotion prospects".

Daniel Espino, College of Engineering and Physical Sciences

“One benefit of EEF funding has been the networks it has enabled me to develop around teaching across the University. It has helped me to understand teaching challenges more clearly and has introduced me to a range of strategies to best deal with them”.

Aziza Mahomed, College of Engineering and Physical Sciences

“Collaboration with colleagues from other disciplines has been immensely beneficial. Our collaborators have provided feedback on the project methodology, critically evaluating our approach, making us think in more depth about the educational outcomes, and helped us to better achieve these”.

Individual projects have also had a significant impact on how excellence in teaching is promoted at Birmingham. 
In 2013 Valuing Teaching at Birmingham (VT@B) investigated how the University could better celebrate and recognise high quality teaching, and how those who teach could be supported to develop their teaching practice.  You can find the roots of many of HEFi’s professional development support activities in the recommendations that were made; the call to establish “an institutional forum for debate and promoting excellence in teaching and learning” led to the creation of the Teaching Academy.  Under the leadership of Kathy Armour, the TA’s remit was widened, the unit incorporated the Birmingham Digital team and in September 2017 the Higher Education Futures Institute came to being.  Over that academic year additional resource and a physical base were secured, and in November 2018 HEFi moved to its new home in the Old Gym. 
Olg GYm OUtside
One finding from VT@B was a perceived lack of continuing professional development and support for experienced teaching staff. This led to funding being awarded to another project, the Mentoring Network for HEA recognition, which supported twelve colleagues in applying for HEA recognition as Senior Fellows.  It was anticipated that developing a network of HEA Senior Fellows would build capacity for establishing an HEA-accredited CPD framework within the University, and in July 2014 accreditation for The University of Birmingham Beacon Professional Recognition scheme (Beacon) was achieved. Since accreditation nearly 250 fellowships have been awarded, with the 100th Senior Fellowship achieved in July 2019.