UBBS: shaping graduate futures through research-informed teaching

“Investing in science education and curiosity-driven research is investing in the future.” – Ahmed Zewail

Knowledge is power. Ideas rule the world. We’ve all heard these famous adages before and have even likely used them. But have we asked ourselves: Who rules ideas? Who creates knowledge?

Deola Kayode, an entrepreneur, blogger and public speaker, hit the nail on the head when he pointed out that we all live and operate in a world created and shaped by the ideas of others. He went on to label those who rule ideas as “mentors”, and said the television and the computer popular mediums where “world shapers meet the shaped”.

Education decides your place in the world, whether you too can be a world shaper, whether one day it will be your idea that rules a part of the world.

University of Bedfordshire
At the University of Bedfordshire Business School (UBBS) students are given an unparalleled education experience based on engagement with global businesses through applied real world research. The School is committed to providing opportunities for students to become critical thinkers, to graduate with insights into business, management and legal research that enables them to be thought leaders and world shapers.

For this reason, scholarship, research and professional practice underpins the delivery of the UBBS curriculum. Through a commitment to research informed teaching  with a global outlook, the University is ranked 64 out of 130 UK universities in the latest Times Higher Education global rankings, placing it well above many of its established competitors.

UBBS is one of six shortlisted finalists for the prestigious THE Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community Award. The School’s innovative Refugee Legal Assistance Project provides legal aid surgeries where students and graduate volunteers, working under the supervision of qualified practitioners, provide assistance to refugees to navigate the process of a family reunion application. To date more than 60 individuals have been reunited with their families as a result of the project. This initiative builds on the School’s research expertise in human rights and social justice which informs and shapes the legal curriculum.

“Research Informed Teaching (RiT) and Research Informed Learning (RiL) are key to ensuring that students are taught in an engaging and challenging manner; that their subject knowledge is kept up-to-date; and their research and evaluation skills are developed to better equip them for the challenges of their future careers,” according to the RiT guide.

RiT and RiL are also directly related to the concept of CRe8, another facet of the UB learning experience that incorporates five key themes: personalised learning, realistic learning, curriculum, employability and assessment. But what exactly does all this mean?

Personalised Learning – the importance of giving students a chance to recognise the different ways that research is conceptualised, as well as how it’s experienced. So, in the context of RiL, this means that UBBS students are able to pursue personal interests when deciding a research topic, which in turn allows them to understand the relevance of research to their own development, as well as to the development of their future career destinations.

Realistic Learning – giving students the chance to experience research in a truly realistic manner; making it personal, social, professional and intellectual with real-world, practical relevance.

Curriculum – highlights the importance of supporting students for the duration of their course. In a research context, a ‘scaffolded’ curriculum allows students to experience a range of research activities even before they pursue their dissertation. Not only does this allow them to build an elite research portfolio, it also helps them apply skills, such as synthesis, analysis and evaluation, all of which are essential in a global employment market.

Employability – through an engaging and research-centric curriculum, students are able to hone skills that are essential when it comes to securing future employment – including research-specific expertise and other transferrable skills.

“CRe8 captures a vision of a curriculum which emphasises the employability of students, exposes students to research with real-life applicability, based upon partnerships with business, voluntary and public sectors, as appropriate,” states the University guide. “Students develop not only their research skills, but also their understanding of the importance of research to society in its widest sense: to economic development, social wellbeing and progress.”

Assessment – the School’s assessment process is specifically constructed to prepare students not only to succeed, but to thrive, up to and including their final year. To accommodate this, students focus on clearly identified learning outcomes, and receive constructive feedback which provides them with the knowledge and skillset required for their final year dissertation, often described as one of the most challenging aspects of higher education.

UBBS is a major draw for international students, with campuses in Luton, Bedford, Milton Keynes. As an international and multi-cultural institution with education partners in China, the Middle East, Europe and South East Asia, the University has an established track record of providing excellent opportunities for students across the globe. Superb on-campus facilities include a recently opened £46 million state-of-the-art library, careers and employability service, placements, internships and live projects and excellent student support services. There are rich opportunities for students to establish global connections to work and study overseas, and to develop professional networks that span the world.

‘Ultimately, the University of Bedfordshire Business School aims to provide an academic community where both staff and students can excel’, says Debra Leighton (Executive Dean)’. The provision of high quality, research informed teaching underpins and defines our commitment to providing this’.

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All images courtesy of the University of Bedfordshire Business School

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