The AoC Scholarship Project

New College Durham is one of the 15 lead colleges in the Association of Colleges (AoC) Scholarship Project. The AoC will manage the project which is being funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) Catalyst Fund, and is receiving additional support from the National Union of Students (NUS), Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), and the Higher Education Academy (HEA). The project will run in conjunction with Hartlepool and Darlington College.

The aim of the project is to support the development and embedding of a distinct college higher education (HE) scholarly ethos. Establishing a ‘scholarship framework’ will advance relevant forms of scholarship within technical and professional curricula, and enhance the learning experience for students.

The project will explore different forms of scholarship, including student scholarly activity, and wider community and employer engagement. This conceptual underpinning will guide the exploration of current scholarship policies and practices, with a view to developing, testing and embedding the ‘scholarship framework’. Ideally, this framework will be applied across the sector to support and enrich a wide range of scholarly activity and outputs for the sector.

The project will run from 2015-2018, and will involve the lead colleges and their local partner colleges (46 colleges in total). A range of students, teachers, managers and employers will be involved with regard to aspects of scholarly activity.

The project will be beneficial to students at New College Durham as they will be introduced to a new higher education induction model that aims to provide them with an engaging and smooth transition into higher education. To do this, students will be eased into the deeper level of thinking and knowledge complexity required at this level of study.

College lecturers at New College Durham will also benefit from the project as they will be afforded the opportunity to conduct research to continue their professional development, and engage in a professional and scholarly community of practice.

Further positive impacts on students and staff will be established once data from the above two initiatives has been evaluated and publicised.