Professor Patrick Porter

Engaging students through innovative assessment

Name Professor Patrick Porter


Academic Director of SSI, Chair of Strategic Studies and MStrat Programme Director

College Strategy and Security Institute

Engaging students in active learning

Patrick Porter is Professor of Strategic Studies and Academic Director of the Strategy and Security Institute. Ensuring that SSI is not only at the forefront of this kind of education, but also at the forefront of the security debate within the UK, is an important goal for Patrick and his colleagues. 

"I think the Strategy and Security Institute is exciting, not only because of what it does, but how it does it. It’s a particular kind of method that is both old and new. It’s old because it brings together a lot of the classical, pedagogical traditions... but it also brings together a lot of the new, in terms of applied strategy, in terms of encouraging [a] much, much closer relationship between theoretical questions and practical policy questions, which is not done a lot in the UK… So we think that SSI, through its model of classical and modern, old and new, actually offers a way in which… Higher Education can advance”.  

Developing students' employability

One key demonstration of this can be seen in the delivery of the Institute's novel MA Applied Security Strategy programme, where emphasis is placed on active learning via simulations. Taught by leading practitioners and academics, the MStrat course presents a unique offering in Higher Education in the UK, by developing not only students' knowledge of the theory behind strategy, but their confidence, critical thinking, and their ability to work collaboratively and under pressure, greatly enhancing students' employability: 

"[The MStrat improves students’ employability] by preparing students to make well-informed, theoretically-informed choices, but under pressure, so that when they go to their employer or they go into the marketplace, they actually have an edge, because they can say not only have they done a high-level course at a Russell Group university, but they’ve done a series of exercises and activities, and wrestled with a number of problems in that course, that actually prepares them like very few other courses can”.

Aim 2: Excellent employment experiences & capabilities

To measure and improve the employability attributes of all students through course, extra-curricular and out-of-term-time activities


Innovative assessment and feedback

"...the students are actually makers, not just receivers of what they do".

Leading practitioners and academics

“...what we want to try and do is prepare students in good kinds of habits, good kinds of instincts”.

Developing students' employability

"[The MStrat prepares] students to make... theoretically-informed choices, but under pressure”.