Posted on Monday, 02 December 2013 at 10am
by Sheryl Meskin. See more of my posts here.
Our Science Foundation Year (SFY) programmes have undergone some very exciting changes over the past year. Firstly, all our modules are now completely taught here at the University of Leeds. This benefits our students in many ways: from the beginning of their studies they are on the University campus getting to know their way round campus (especially making use of the Red Route when it’s wet!), finding out how to make the most of the facilities and support available such as the Library, Leeds University Union and other student support services. Our revamped science modules provide experience in scientific practicals in the same laboratories they will go on to use during their degree studies.
Secondly, we gave careful consideration to the times and ways in which students will demonstrate their understanding of their learning in their assessments. Our students are taught using a variety of different teaching approaches. They have ample opportunity to learn a variety of transferable skills such as presentations, poster and talks, essay writing, debates and developing a research project. During their Foundation Year students do a lot of ‘practice’ with the scientific or mathematical skills needed to be successful on a degree programme here at the University. Topics will be introduced in a lecture and students will revisit the material in their readings, self-guided or in class quizzes, practice problem sets, set coursework, revision, midterm examinations and an end of module examination. This tiered approach to learning is designed to help students become independent learners who will be able to approach study successfully on progression to their degree programme.
Finally, a very important elemental (pardon the Chemistry pun!) change for the programme has been the careful hiring of dedicated and skilful tutors. Over the last year our SFY team has expanded to include subject specialist tutors Dr. Steve Maw (Biology), Dr. Emma Pittard (Physics), Dr. Katy Dobson (Mathematics) and Dr. Felix Janeway (Chemistry). We also have two new part-time tutors: Claire Burns who teaches Biology to students on the International Foundation Year programme and Linda Forbes who teaches Chemistry to students on both the Interdisciplinary Science Foundation Year and Earth and Environmental Sciences Foundation Year programmes.
Not only does each of the SFY Team really understand their own subject area, they are also keen on teaching. Additionally, the team looks for opportunities to make connections across our scientific worlds in order to share with our students the interconnectedness across the modules and disciplines. With our expanded SFY team in place, along with our supportive environment, we offer students the opportunity to make the most of a Foundation Year experience to learn both the subject material and develop as an independent learner in a university setting.