Supporting the curriculum: Achieve More

Achieve More is a unique and exciting addition to our curriculum, providing students with the opportunity to broaden their knowledge and develop their problem solving skills. The initiative enables students to work together in inter-disciplinary groups to tackle real-life global problems. As their studies develop, each year group is offered a new challenge to build on their collaborative skills. For students in their first year, Achieve More is foundational in allowing them to meet and work with others from a range of academic disciplines within their faculty. The initiative has been adopted by each faculty and transformed into several unique challenges, ranging from the Breaking Boundaries module by the Faculty of Science to the Global Engineering Challenge by the Faculty of Engineering.

As their Achieve More initiative, the Faculty of Arts and Humanities established ThinkCreate. First held in February 2015, ThinkCreate was a week-long event for 800 first year students. During the week, students had to take on a challenge that addressed key problems facing our society today. While working in inter-disciplinary groups, supported by postgraduate researchers, the teams researched a question of their choosing within four broad academic themes. As their projects developed, students had to summarise their findings by creating a digital artefact that could then be shared and reviewed by their peers.

Supporting the curriculum: Achieve More

In the middle of the week, 30 alumni volunteers from Arts and Humanities came back to the University to support the student groups. The students discussed their ideas and project planning with the alumni, who offered them practical advice on their projects. Alumni also spoke to students about their careers and the skills that they had developed at Sheffield, allowing students to gain more insight into the world of work.

I took part I improve my own experience and skills in events like this and because the opportunity sounded interesting and worthwhile. I'm glad I took part as I feel both myself and the students got a lot out of the experience and I wish I had had this opportunity whilst I was studying.


Supporting the curriculum: Achieve More Supporting the curriculum: Achieve More

We spoke to Dr Giles Harrington, Teaching Associate in German and Academic Lead for ThinkCreate 2016, about the impact of the event and the alumni who gave their time. Here’s what Giles had to say:

"Student feedback on their time with Sheffield alumni during ThinkCreate confirms that our alumni volunteers were undoubtedly the highlight of the week. Students valued, in particular, the opportunity to interview alumni about their experiences after leaving Sheffield and enjoyed the chance to learn about the diverse career opportunities open to Arts and Humanities scholars.

"As an employability officer in the School of Languages and Cultures, I am keenly aware of anxieties felt by students from my discipline when they think about their future. The presence of alumni at ThinkCreate really helped students to recognise the value of their subject-specific knowledge and their academic skills right at the start of their University career and will give them confidence that they can make a difference to the world around them after graduation. Our first-years will one day become alumni of the University and will, we hope, also return to Sheffield to share their knowledge and experience with future generations.

"Students also noted that formative feedback they received from alumni on their projects enriched the final outputs. This is something we are very keen to build on in 2016 when each student group will give a presentation to a panel comprising of alumni, academic staff and PhD researchers. For our students, the benefits of this event will endure long beyond ThinkCreate week. We're excited about ThinkCreate, our most major innovation in learning and teaching in recent years, and are already looking forward to welcoming back former students to their academic home."

I didn't know what to expect when I decided to volunteer for the ThinkCreate event, but I am glad I did. I found it an interesting and enjoyable activity.

The students were great and showed genuine interest in what I had to say. I enjoyed their questions and I hope my answers were useful and, perhaps, have given the students something to reflect on which may be of value now or in the future.

Gary Bartles, History, 1989

ThinkCreate 2016

Fancy getting involved? We are now looking for forty Arts and Humanities alumni volunteers to support students with their ThinkCreate projects and also talk about their own career paths after University. Please register your interest here.

We are also currently recruiting for Engineering alumni, who graduated between 2005 – 2015, to take part in our Global Engineering Challenge. For more information, please click here.

It was a joy to be involved with the ThinkCreate event. Inspirational ideas from the students and – hopefully – some wise counsel from the alumni


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