The Education Incubator
Cultivating innovation and collaboration by creating spaces where academics can discover, develop and explore new ideas.
In this era of rapid change, it is important for academia to be adaptable and imaginative to ensure they stay ahead of the curve. At the University of Exeter, our innovative approach to delivering cutting edge education and learning techniques means our students have the real-world skills to tackle the global challenges of our time.Explore case studies
One such example of this is our Education Incubator. This innovative space supports and enables academics from across the university to explore and develop pedagogic innovation and ideas. Colleagues are encouraged to bring ideas to the Incubator and along with peer support are given the necessary skills, advice, finances and technology to bring their ideas to fruition. Students also partner and collaborate with the academics to test and develop ideas, which has played a key part in the success of this initiative.
Inclusivity and accessibility are key values within the University of Exeter and ensure that success for all students can be achieved. We strive to continually ensure our curriculum is open to, and engaging for, students from all backgrounds. Two key projects stand out in this regard. The first is the Exeter Spectrum Programme. Established in 2019, the Programme aimed to address a gap in the level of support for autistic students at university level and to promote awareness of neurodiversity with academic staff, enabling them to better support autistic students. Already, the Programme has helped to create a network of Autism Champions, including and influenced by students, and hosted a national conference on Autism in Higher Education.
The second was launched in 2020, in partnership with the Provost’s office, the Unlearn Collective and various departments. An innovative series of Student-Led Anti-Racism (SLAR) projects have been developed, designed to empower students to solve problems relating to racial equality, diversity, and inclusion at the University and beyond. The Incubator also set up a #SLAR network for everyone interested in antiracism projects, creating opportunities to meet, discuss and collaborate on driving change.
In a reflection of our commitment to the South West region, a number of projects have also taken our student’s education beyond the campus with collaborative local community projects. By applying their learning in these environments our students are inspired by the opportunity to benefit others, including an example initiative to support the teaching of mathematics to primary school children through the medium of art.
Our creative approach to delivering education can also be seen through other initiatives, such as gamification in medicine and Lego Serious Play, that come under the banner of ‘The Playful University’. This culture of playfulness has fostered a learning environment where students can overcome challenges, engage problem solving techniques, and collaborate but in a fun, engaging and unique way. The University has also pushed the boundaries to improve the student learning experience through the development of award-winning software to facilitate ‘virtual field trips. This has allowed our students to still get an immersive experience without the requirement to travel.
These innovations, and others, are central to developing a learning community of collaboration, where students are nurtured and developed - ready to become agents of change to address the challenges of the future.
Our innovative approach to co-creating and delivering education in partnership with our community – businesses, universities, public and third-sector organisations, schools and colleges – is achieving outstanding results..
Driven by an ethos of delivering education through innovation and by adapting creative approaches, we’ve been working on a range of projects under the banner of ‘The Playful University’, solving problems and overcoming obstacles with joy, engagement and a sense of fun.
A key driver of our Education Incubator initiative is the confidence and resilience to be fearless in our approach to reimagining education and the possibilities it can realise.
Success for all our Students is one of five Focus Themes at the heart of our Education Strategy 2019-25, and makes inclusivity, accessibility, potential and wellbeing all key pillars in achieving potential and eliminating gaps in access, attainment and progression.
Technology plays a key role in modern education and Exeter is at the forefront, giving students the opportunity to learn in ways that would have ben unimaginable just a generation ago.
For departments like Geography and the Camborne School of Mines, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a particularly difficult challenge. How can the unique experience of educational field trips be replicated in an online environment?