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Durham University

University and City: Growing together

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Opening the doors to Durham University...

(17 December 2019)

Students in the Teaching and Learning Centre

Students in the Teaching and Learning Centre

Our Education Strategy aims to ensure all students receive world-class teaching and learning opportunities, within an inclusive learning environment. Professor Alan Houston, Vice-Provost (Education), explores how the University is investing and innovating in its teaching, aiming to attract some of the North East’s brightest students to study at Durham.

Q: You’ve just opened a new Teaching and Learning Centre on Durham’s South Road. Tell us what’s inside.

A: We opened our new Teaching and Learning Centre in September. It has new lecture theatres, an extra 450 spaces for individual and group study, nearly 200 computer laboratory spaces, high-specification facilities and top-of-the-range digital equipment, as well as an excellent Café!

There’s also an Education Laboratory, where all sorts of new teaching methods are being trialled – including using video games, virtual reality and even Lego! Everyone learns in different ways, and we’re looking for creative ways to ensure that all students can thrive.

Q: Who will benefit from the Centre?

A: First and foremost, our students; the building puts student learning at its heart.

But it’s not just the students of today who will benefit. We’re determined to attract more students from the North East to study here at Durham, particularly those who have come from backgrounds where attending University is not the norm. By creating inclusive learning spaces, enhanced with the latest digital learning technologies, we’ll ensure that these students have the facilities and resources needed to succeed here.

Q: What else are you doing to enable local students to study at Durham?

A: We’ve just released an ambitious Access and Participation Plan which will enable us to do just this. It has some really significant steps to change the current representation of students from the region studying at Durham.

For example, we’re launching a new programme called ‘Excellence in a Local Context’. This will be an innovative membership scheme for schools in the North-East and will enable us to improve current contextual entry offers based on the individual circumstances of students within that school.

We’re also redesigning our flagship Supported Progression scheme, which has helped many talented young people study at Durham, so it’s a North-East programme with a focus on academic success and conversion.

I’m also very excited that we’re developing plans to open Durham Mathematics School. This will be a specialist school offering exceptional teaching at a sixth form level to talented students from this region who wouldn’t otherwise have access to mathematics education post-16, and opening up a wealth of opportunities for these students either in Higher Education or employment.

Q: How would you describe Durham University’s Education Strategy in three words?

Innovate. Include. Inspire.