Celebrating “Wicked” Teaching at the Vet School

The Vet School hosted a Celebrate Teaching event on Wednesday 6th June to recognise the work of over 70 colleagues and students at the R(D)SVS/Roslin who have gained HEA fellowships. This included two Principal Fellows, 11 Senior Fellows, 41 Fellows and 19 Associate Fellows.

At the event, the Head of School presented certificates to thank everyone for their ‘commitment to professionalism in learning and teaching in Higher Education’ that their fellowships represent.

There were presentations by colleagues who were EUSA Teaching Award finalists and R(D)SVS Teaching prize winners in 2017-18 and by two undergraduate students who have undertaken educational Student Research Component (SRC) projects whilst working towards their AFHEA. It was fascinating to see the innovative ways in which super-complex problems are being tackled by students and staff.

There was also a poster presentations of current and previous educational research and development projects undertaken by R(D)SVS staff in partnership with colleagues within and outwith the University. This was an excellent opportunity for us to talk about our work on the wicked problems project with people who have a shared interest in teaching and educational research.

One colleague commented that:

“Reading this [poster], I realise I do this in my teaching, finding creative solutions to complex problems. I’m looking forward to this talk [at the Learning and Teaching conference], getting a chance to share my experience and learn what others are doing in the University.” GB, Lecturer

Following our recent Learning and Teaching Conference presentation, we are now looking forward to our Practical Strategies event in March 2019, where we will get the opportunity to do just that!

Staff and students with certificates at the RDSVS
Celebrating in style: Staff and students from the RDSVS with their certificates.

Giving students ‘controlled’ experiences of wicked problems

I’ve been enjoying reading some of the interview transcripts from the  project today and one of the things that struck me is that several of our participants seem to be giving students ‘controlled’ experiences of wicked problems. What I mean by that is that students get to work in groups on authentic and complex problems but with a bit more structure and support than they might get outside of higher education. Sometimes the teachers helped the students create some boundaries round a manageable slice of a wicked problem. Other teachers provided students with structured readings or thinking models to help make the wicked problem easier to think about. Sometimes graduated support was provided with the groups which were struggling getting a bit more teacher support. I think all of these are great ways to help students learn about dealing with wicked problems.