Beyond the Classroom

About this project

The aim of this project is to understand and recognise the diversity of innovations to enhance student experience and outcomes.  

Despite the pivotal role of third space colleagues, their roles are often poorly understood. This may impact the ways in which they are able to work most effectively with academic and professional services colleagues. We are therefore motivated to highlight third space innovations, and understand what works, for whom, and when.

This cross-disciplinary team take a critical pedagogical approach to understanding the ways in which successful learning is facilitated within UK Higher Education. We recognise that curriculum-based approaches are necessary to support the development of students’ knowledge and skills, but that the barriers and opportunities to facilitate learning from a diverse student population span the socio-cultural and political spaces as well.

Third space colleagues develop and deliver activities to support students’ development; whether in academic skill development, supporting students who may be considering withdrawing from their courses, or supporting with employability development (for example). Much of this work aims to support students from non-traditional and disadvantaged backgrounds, who face greater barriers within and beyond the institution.

The project is led by Dr Kate Cuthbert from the Staffordshire Centre of Learning and Pedagogic Practice in partnership with the University of the West of Scotland and funded as part of the Collaborative Development Fund from AdvanceHE. Within the project team there are colleagues with significant experience of third space working and institutional enhancement projects.

Project activity

The project will manage a sector-wide call for case studies within any area of higher education, from school activities (e.g., aspiration raising), through to graduate and post-graduate activities (e.g., graduate programmes). SCoLPP is working in collaboration with the University of the West of Scotland to complete three phases of work:

  • Rapid review of literature regarding 3rd space initiatives, which evaluates the emerging evidence concerning what works effectively in educational transformation
  • Generate database of concise case studies to recognise the diversity of innovations to enhance student experience and outcomes
  • Shortlisting with an Expert Reference Group to select up to five case studies to be advanced into in-depth case studies
  • Co-production of in-depth case studies through an appreciative inquiry lens to capture the energies of the initiative alongside the personal, professional, and organisational learning
  • Development of project report, including recommendations informed by a critical pedagogy discussion. This will provide more effective signposting to the sector and greater traction on the learning presented within the case studies

Associated researcher

Dr Kate Cuthbert

Pedagogic Proj Dev Man Ass Prof

I am a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy with significant experience in curriculum design and innovative pedagogies. I am passionate about sharing knowledge in learning and teaching and contributing to the National Teaching Repository.

Kate's profile
in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021