SPARK Programme Consolidation

    Project: Non-funded project

    Project Details


    My role as Academic Director includes the Strathclyde Programme for Academic Practice, Research Development and Knowledge Exchange (SPARK) - academic credit-bearing classes available free of charge to staff. When I took up its Directorship, my analysis of the programme identified that some pathways were less well attended than others and that there was some misalignment of the programme with University strategy.

    Led by a vision to align more closely with University strategy and the outcomes of a consultation with programme participants, I made the decision to close the PgDip and MSc programmes, and to consolidate the ‘research development’ and ‘knowledge exchange’ pathways into a single pathway. I closely supported programme staff (particularly those with longstanding attachments to the programme) and led the successful closure of the programmes. (A1-K6)

    As part of this change, I led the removal of our institutional PhD supervisor approval programme from an academic offering to a flexible, student-led pathway, allowing our participants to select development opportunities most relevant to them. This also opened an opportunity for experienced supervisors to continue their development (confirmed by data). This has benefitted our research student community by having supervisors with bespoke training pathways who are better equipped to provide effective research supervision.

    The team still provide learning and development support to staff in each of the SPARK areas however moving the provision to be CPD-based has allowed the development opportunities to be available in short, practice-based sessions rather than having to commit to a full 20-credit academic class with all that entails. Our CPD provision attendances have increased by 64% since making this change; participants comment on the flexibility they now have to select individualised and bespoke learning and development pathways.
    Effective start/end date1/08/187/09/21