Blog post

Annual Review 2017/18: Learning and Teaching

The University of Derby was ranked in the top 100 institutions in Europe for teaching excellence in the Times Higher Education Europe Teaching Rankings 2018.

By The Corporate Communications Team - 5 October 2018

The new rankings, which focus entirely on teaching and learning, concentrate on four core performance pillars: resources, engagement, outcomes and environment. Derby was ranked above the median for all UK higher education institutions for all of the 12 questions asked in the survey. Professor Kathryn Mitchell, Vice-Chancellor, said: "At Derby we have innovative teaching and learning at the heart of the student experience, so to be recognised among the top institutions in Europe for teaching excellence is outstanding news." "What we teach and the way we teach it is designed to ensure all our students benefit from academic challenge, outstanding facilities and relevant work experience opportunities, which ensure upon graduating they are best placed to realise their goals and aspirations."

National award for Derby's Teaching and Learning strategy

In June, Derby scooped the prestigious Teaching and Learning Strategy of the Year Award at the 2018 Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards. We were one of six institutions shortlisted for the category, designed to recognise 'a teaching and learning strategy that is distinctive and innovative, has enhanced both the student and staff experience, and reflects an institution's core values.' Our 2016-2020 strategy is based around three pillars: teaching quality, employability and delivering a curriculum linked to research. Derby claimed the award for what the judges called an "excellent example of a strategy and implementation plan around three key pillars of learning and teaching: teaching quality, employability and a research-informed curriculum."

University hosts annual Learning and Teaching Conference

Around 300 University staff, partners and international delegates attended the University's Learning and Teaching Conference at the Devonshire Dome at our Buxton Campus this year. The 13th annual conference, which focused on student autonomy and success, involved a series of workshops and roundtable debates.

Recognition for excellence of Derby technologist

A member of our staff won a teaching and learning award, after adopting mobile and online technologies to enhance students' educational experience. Senior Learning Technologist Chris Bell won the European Blackboard Catalyst Award for Teaching and Learning for our Digital Practice Baseline, a framework to benchmark and support improvements to the student digital learning experience. Chris, who has over 10 years' experience within higher education, working with tutors to embed digital practice into their teaching and learning, said: "Being recognised at the highest level by Blackboard for developing a global exemplar framework, by which academic staff can benchmark, shape and deliver planned digital enhancements, is important for the University in maintaining its status as a sector leader in digital practice."

The student voice

Our staff continue to work closely with our students to ensure they receive an outstanding quality experience at Derby, one that takes them onto whatever they want to do in the future, whether that's further study, research or graduate-level employability. The Student Experience Learning and Teaching Committee, which was launched last year, continues to provide students with an influential and valued voice. Professor Malcolm Todd, Provost (Academic), said: "We take this type of collaboration incredibly seriously and, in many ways, I think we're leading the sector in giving students the opportunity to work with us in this way. It's been a fantastic success, bringing together agendas that never existed here before and, as a result, we get a really student-focused perspective on all the papers and discussions related to the University and the student experience that come into that committee."

University of Derby Online Learning

Through the University of Derby Online Learning (UDOL) we offer distance learning courses and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS). These provide learners with a flexible way to balance their work experience with proven academic knowledge of their subject. In March, UDOL hosted its Annual Academic Conference, themed Digital Assessment and Feedback. Academics from across the UK, engaged in improving student experience through digital assessment and feedback, participated in the conference. Dr Chris Blackmore, Visiting Professor at UDOL and Senior Academic for ScHARR at the University of Sheffield, provided the keynote, which centred on the link between emotions and learning, what the student journey looks like within online learning and how we build emotions into learning analytics.

For further information contact the press office at

About the author

The Corporate Communications Team
University Press and PR

The Corporate Communications Team manage the University's Press and PR, putting forward academics, support staff and student representatives for 'expert comment' on different topics to local and national broadcast media. The team is highly experienced in communications and journalism - locally, regionally and nationally - as well as in-house and agency public relations.