Elevate peer support and mentoring

A cropped image of two individuals facing each other, only torsos and arms visibleSometimes our colleagues are the best sources of support. We offer a range of opportunities to access and offer peer support to develop your teaching.

Sources of peer support and mentoring

Elevate mentoring

The Elevate Mentoring Scheme provides collegiate support through 1:1 conversations for colleagues who teach or support learning at the University of Sheffield. The scheme is voluntary, developmental and mentee driven.

Outcomes of the programme for mentees may include:

  • Familiarisation with the UKHE learning and teaching environment
  • Making changes to learning, teaching and assessment practices
  • Support for career planning and options, setting priorities, promotion
  • Getting to grips with scholarship of teaching and learning, publications and conference presentations
  • Support to raise individuals' learning & teaching profile.

For further information about becoming a mentor or mentee, please contact April Dawson.

Off the Record

Off the Record aims to promote an inclusive approach to supporting your learning and teaching. Participants will enable constructive developmental discussions and interactions amongst community members at a pace which suits them and with self-identified goals that meet their needs.

Off the Record will help participants to navigate across disciplinary and structural boundaries to locate the supportive dialogues that can move their practice forward. It provides a mechanism for community members to connect with others to arrange the likes of developmental teaching observations, collegiate conversations and critical friend discussions 'off the record'.

Off the Record provides the opportunity for you to discuss and develop areas of your learning and teaching practice with colleagues who share similar interests. Through the 'Off the Record' community we will seek to put you into contact with a colleague, or colleagues well matched to your specific area of learning and teaching need.

Join the Community
To join the Off the Record community you must first attend a briefing session.

For details of future briefings and enquiries please contact: offtherecord@sheffield.ac.uk

Collegiate Observation, Enquiry and Discussion

What is it?

Collegiate Observation, Enquiry and Discussion (COED) is for all staff who teach at the University of Sheffield. It replaces the previous scheme, the Annual Dialogue. The new scheme continues to emphasise the importance of a range of activities besides peer observation of teaching in the development of teaching and learning.

What is the purpose?

COED provides a framework that enables those who are involved in any teaching activity, including supervision of research students, to develop individual and collegiate practice in learning and teaching. In order to provide a high quality learning experience for our students is it essential that teaching staff engage in ongoing professional development in learning and teaching.

Other benefits include:

  • Faculties and departments can collect and report examples of good practice. Staff can be nominated for teaching awards;
  • Areas for improvement can be identified and provision made for appropriate support and development;
  • COED can be incorporated into learning and teaching away days;
  • If appropriate, it could feed into the SRDS process. Records of activities can be included in portfolios for teaching promotions.

What does it involve?

Academic departments are expected to ensure that all staff involved in teaching engage in some form of activity with peers that facilitates the development of learning and teaching practice. This could be through, e.g., some form of peer observation and feedback, through enquiry into your individual practice, to playing an active role in departmental discussions and initiatives on assessment, feedback or other areas that the department is working on. In addition to ensuring that such opportunities are provided for their teaching staff, departments must keep a record of the types of activity carried out. Departmental approaches to COED will be reviewed as part of Periodic Review. Forms for recording your COED activities can be found in the downloads box.

Examples of activities that departments and staff are currently engaged in include:

Dedicated fora for staff to come together to talk about and develop their teaching, e.g., Teaching Circles in Medicine Dentistry and Health and Engineering and Teaching Shorts (EATS) in Engineering.
Participants in the Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching (CiLT) or Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching for Learning in Higher Education (PGCertTLHE) have several opportunities to engage in peer observation of teaching as part of the course and have this to say about how useful it is for development:

“The feedback provided by my colleagues was valuable in that it related directly to methods and strategies for teaching and learning in my subject. Some colleagues were experimenting with methods and strategies – very useful to hear about and observe in practice. This helped me learn that it is acceptable to try out new strategies.”

“It was very useful to get feedback from peers. [T]o get the opportunity to see other teaching styles and activities…and to take ideas to consider within my own practice.”

Simple straightforward conversations with colleagues are a valuable, often overlooked source of professional development in all aspects of teaching and learning:

“Some interesting things came from talking to colleagues and seeing things [from] their point of view.”

“I found conversations with colleagues useful, in terms of discussing ideas and practices.”

Is there professional recognition for COED?

Yes - individuals can use COED activities as evidence to support an application for one of the Higher Education Academy’s fellowship categories via the University of Sheffield’s new Learning and Teaching Professional Recognition Scheme (LTPRS). COED is also an opportunity to gather evidence which could be used to nominate colleagues for a Senate Awards for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (if colleagues don’t know about your good teaching, they can’t nominate you).