An innovative Vertically Integrated Projects (VIPs) pilot will launch at Bath in February, bringing together undergraduate and postgraduate students, and academic staff from departments across the University to work closely together on a range of research-based group projects. VIPs are common in the US, where they have their origins, and are growing in popularity further afield. Currently, VIPs run in over 70 HE institutions across the world.
Bath’s VIP projects will focus on community engagement, sustainable transport, student wellbeing and technology for social care. They offer a unique opportunity for staff and students to help make a positive impact on local challenges, as well as build momentum for greater enterprise and social action in the future.
The VIP pilots will support students to develop a range of key employability skills, including communication and project planning. Students will also gain experience in working in multidisciplinary teams, which will be invaluable as they progress into roles beyond their current University studies.
The pilot projects will expose students to issues around citizenship, sustainability and equality for all, as well as involving them in research that pivots around the building of partnerships both within and beyond the University. Participation in VIPs is beneficial to students who are not part of a placement programme, as well as those who are on a placement programme and want to develop different skills.
Interest in the new initiative has been overwhelming, with 40 students from six departments selected to take part in the pilot. Andy Pitchford, Head of Learning and Teaching in the Centre for Learning & Teaching said: “I am delighted that the VIP initiative has been received so positively by both students and staff. We have received a great deal of support from the VIP Director at Strathclyde University, Professor Stephen Marshall, and it is clear from his experience that such academic enthusiasm can make a real difference to the long-term success of VIPs.
We hope that this is just the start of VIPs at Bath, and anticipate more students and staff being able to benefit as our VIP community starts to extend across an even broader range of disciplines. We are also exploring where the embedding of VIPs into the curriculum could further support interdisciplinary research at Bath whilst also providing fantastic learning opportunities for students”.
Staff and students will be able to find out more about the VIP pilot projects at EduFest on 5th May, when the VIP groups will have the opportunity to present their VIP experiences and project outputs.
For further information about the VIP concept, go to https://teachinghub.bath.ac.uk/curriculum-development/vertically-integrated-projects/
For queries about Bath’s VIP projects, please contact: Dr Andy Pitchford or Sue Watts at firstname.lastname@example.org.