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Music seminar. Credit: John Houlihan

Key Objective 2: To offer outstanding teaching and learning

The University Strategy


Our teaching will be led by research.  We will be excellent in every aspect of students’ education, including in the design and delivery of teaching, in support for students’ intellectual growth, in assessing students’ attainment, and in evaluating and improving our performance as a place of learning.  We will invite students to explore their subject as independent learners and as active researchers.  We will encourage and develop creativity, advanced problem-solving skills and critical, independent thinking.  Our students will be challenged to reach the highest level of attainment and they will acquire skills that enhance their employability and professional effectiveness.

How will we achieve this?

  1. We will articulate a University of York pedagogy and apply it to all our programmes

  • We will apply the best evidence on effective teaching and learning to define our institution’s learning culture and set expectations for our programmes. 
  • We will put programme design and student work at the heart of our pedagogy.
    • Every programme will have distinctive and clear objectives, and each stage of study will be designed to offer progress towards those programme objectives.
    • Carefully-designed student work will enable students to make progress. Students will understand the work they are expected to do and how that work will contribute to the achievement of the programme objectives.
    • Interactions between students and staff will be designed to encourage, inform and propel students’ work.  Students will receive the guidance, support and feedback they need to make progress, and they will understand what they can expect from the University in support of their learning.
  • The design of programmes and student work will support the students’ development as autonomous learners.
  • All new programmes will be designed in accordance with our pedagogy. By 2017/18, the pedagogy will be operational for all programme design, revision and review, with current programmes confirmed as compliant except where an extension of up to a year has been allowed.

  1. We will appoint and support the best teachers

  • The normal expectation will be that all academic members of staff contribute to research, scholarship and teaching, to deliver the unique benefits of research-informed teaching.
  • Everyone involved in teaching at York will have to show commitment and competence. We will have a robust process for evaluating the quality of all teaching and will intervene to help with individual staff development where necessary.
  • We will continue to provide professional development support for teaching, including PGCAP and support for further development aligned with the UK Professional Standards Framework.
  • Teaching excellence and scholarship will be recognised and rewarded in the promotions system.  There will be a promotion route to professor for academic colleagues on teaching and scholarship contracts who have made an exceptional contribution to teaching at the highest level of excellence.

  1. We will recruit the best students

  • We will offer programmes that are designed to be engaging and stimulating for the most able and dedicated students.
  • We will maintain our commitment to recruiting such students, regardless of their economic and social background, age, nationality, personal characteristics or circumstances. 
  • We will continue to invest in activities that raise aspiration to higher education among potential students, promote access to the University, and support successful completion.

  1. We will encourage and support innovation in teaching

  • We will make available funding to support projects and initiatives aimed at development and innovation in teaching.
  • We will use technology to support teaching and learning where appropriate. 
  • We will continue to deploy robust processes for quality assurance and use these processes as vehicles for innovation and enhancement.  All programmes will be reviewed regularly to ensure they remain relevant and up-to-date.  We will respond swiftly and decisively to student feedback about our programmes.

  1. We will give our students opportunities to gain experience that will prepare them better for employment or further study

  • We will encourage all our students to enhance their employability throughout their time at York, by engaging with development opportunities offered by departments, colleges and central services (particularly the Careers Service).
  • We will build upon our existing internship and placement programmes to offer more mutually beneficial experiences for our students and for leading employers, nationally and internationally.
  • We will support students’ volunteering and other forms of work-based learning.
  • We will encourage and support student enterprise.
  • We will further develop the opportunities for students to spend time studying abroad through our Centre for Global Programmes.