Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Teacher Feature - Professor Jeremy Pritchard sheds light on enterprise in the currriculum

The PR team interviews Prof. Jeremy Pritchard
The University of Birmingham is embedding
enterprise within the curriculum in various

One such enterprising individual driving this, is Professor Jeremy Pritchard. He is the Professor  of Life Sciences Education and the Director of Education, for The College of Life and Environmental Sciences.

"Enterprise means moving outside the normal knowledge framework and seeing that the skills learnt in University have wider applicability; they can be applied to different situations. I think creativity is key to it." 
Jeremy stressed the relevance of enterprise in the curriculum for helping students enhance their employability prospects.

 "I think enterprise in the curriculum is very important in the modern world. It highlights relevance and gives a deeper learning of the appropriate skills."

According to Jeremy, impact can be created through enterprise, building on the subject specific skills.  It helps in interdisciplinary areas where a different set of skills are needed. Like for example, scientists exhibit a lot of creativity while planning and executing experiments. But it isn't always recognized as an enterprising skill associated to scientists. Yet it's creativity that employers are wanting.

You may not even know you doing enterprise in your studies! Enterprise can be incorporated into the curriculum in different ways. It can be through introducing enterprise modules, adding additional components to existing modules or even getting alumni to speak about how their  enterprising attitude helped in the workplace. It's all about making the knowledge more relevant in an employment context.  Placements and internships are important  - but developing such skills within the curriculum is also something employers look for.

Along with creativity, other things like empathy, group work, problem solving and even resilience and reflection are  key. For example, Jeremy said the ability to reflect is something employers really look for as it shows the ability to accept failure and learn from it. In our third year projects, we get to learn to solve problems independently as they plan and research their projects, which greatly improves their enterprise skills.

"Students think of failures as failures but they are actually positives as they demonstrate resilience." 
All we need to do is identify where we're developing the enterprising skills within the curriculum and apply those new skills in different ways.

Lakshmipriya Venkatesan interviewed Professor Jeremy Pritchard in April 2017.
Student PR team

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