This year, the need for innovation in how we educate is more self-evident than it has ever been.
Since March 2020, many past Incubator Fellows have told us that their fellowships — undertaken pre-COVID — have equipped them with the skills and mindsets that have allowed them to respond effectively to the educational challenges we have all faced in 2020.
During the last year, we have supported staff and students to challenge and change all manner of things taken for granted in university education. These projects have had huge direct benefits for students. Some projects have impacts across the entire institution through supporting communities working on anti-racism or re-thinking module selection. Alongside these are other projects that currently impact students in particular departments or modules, but through their piloting of new ways of doing things have huge potential when their findings and outputs are applied more widely.
This blog is a brief overview of the Incubator’s work over this calendar year. These highlights and impacts are a testament to the enormous drive, grit, thoughtfulness, and care of all involved.
These numbers demonstrate some of the impact our fellows have had over the past 12 months.
Some other highlights from 2020 include:
• Appointed our first full-time member of staff within the Incubator, (Tom Ritchie, Project Manager), bringing Incubator capacity up to 1.4 FTE
• Supported 66 Project Fellows to run 37 projects across the calendar year, engaging thousands of University Exeter students to engage with and be employed on innovative projects
• The Incubator project InVEnTA won a Times Higher Education Award for Digital/Tech Innovation
• Maarten Koeners secured a Creative Arts Fellowship for his ‘Playful University’ project
• Holly Henderson signed a commercial agreement worth £50,000 to deliver Lego Serious Play sessions to external partners and other universities, including the Bank of England and Wells Fargo
• Collaborated with the Provost’s office to create and support the Student-Led Anti-Racism Project Fund, empowering students to run £25,000 worth of innovative anti-racist projects
• Distributing €30,000 funding from the ERASMUS+ CaST (Communities and Students Together) research project to set up a Community-Engaged Learning Fund, to educators at Exeter who are innovating with community organisations
• Matt Finn’s project led to the creation of innovative online open access resources that support A-Level students through the educational organisation ‘Time for Geography’
• Andy Higginson is working with an existing student start-up ‘Hatless Studios’ to create and pilot a new online module selection method as one of our projects
• Creation of a variety of decolonial and anti-racist project outcomes, ranging from Natalie Pollard’s Unhoming Pedagogies project and Jerri Daboo’s Beyond Face project
• Collaboration between Natalia Lawrence, Grand Challenges, and ‘Kid’s Kitchen’ to develop practical sessions that help children and their families improve their diet on a budget
• Reinvigorated the Incubator Student Network providing CPD workshops and creating communities of like-minded, innovative students for future projects.
We have been lucky to work with such inspirational staff and students during a challenging 2020. If you want to join the Incubator, our next funding call will be launched at the end of January – make sure to check our website in a couple of weeks to see how you can apply for funding to innovate education and the student experience at the University of Exeter.
Alongside this report, we also have a more in-depth report on our 2019/20 projects. We will turn this into a blog over the next few weeks, but in the meantime, you can find it here.
We are excited to see what our Incubator Fellows can achieve in 2021; join 626 other staff and students in following us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and this blog to see some more incredible updates on their projects over the next 12 months!