Genetics Education Networking for Innovation and Excellence
DNA is the molecular blueprint for all living things, putting genetics at the heart of all biology. It impacts on many areas of human health, welfare, daily life and society in general.
The Department of Genetics is internationally recognised for its pioneering, revolutionary research and dynamic teaching and has always valued the benefit students gain from being taught by academics at the cutting edge of their discipline.
Building on this synergy between world-class science and genetics education, with the £4.5 million award, the Department of Genetics will lead the development of innovative approaches and establish a network of institutions engaged in teaching genetics. This includes teaching through stimulating project work, a Virtual Genetics Education Centre and capital programmes for state of the art teaching facilities.
Students and young scientists will enjoy the experience of rubbing shoulders with world leaders as they are taught, and work with them in their laboratories.
Twenty years ago in the Department Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys invented the technique of DNA Genetic Fingerprinting - it captured the imagination of the public bringing an understanding of genetics into everyday life.
It is the only university genetics department to have achieved the top rating of 5* in the latest government Research Assessment Exercise. In 2002 Genetics won the Queen's Anniversary prize "in recognition of innovative, pioneering research, its impact on society, and promotion of the public understanding of science".
The CETL will not only be an effective tool to continue the Department's passion for disseminating an understanding of and enthusiasm for science beyond academia, but will build on creating a learning experience that is both innovative and intellectually exciting.
Enriching the Learning Experience
The work within the GENIE CETL will build upon an inspiring, challenging and worthwhile learning experience. Central to this is the development of motivating project work: student-centred problem-based group exercises; the design of modules focused on the social, legal and ethical implications of genetics; engaging undergraduates in outreach activities in schools.
It will provide a dynamic state of the art teaching environment with opportunities for innovative combinations of laboratory and e-learning approaches for undergraduates and postgraduates. This will promote and sustain the valued synergy between research and teaching.
Across the University of Leicester itself the impact will be wide ranging, through both the incorporation of genetics-specific resources and use of approaches to embed generic key skills in other sciences and social sciences. For example in chemistry, integrated science, law and PGCE programmes.
Investing in this excellence in teaching will allow the CETL to share best practise with others - enthusing and motivating other genetics educators nationally. Establishing a UK-wide network of stake holders in genetics education through workshops and seminars, will enable not only the dissemination of resources produced by the CETL, but also the co-ordination and sharing of innovation and excellence being developed nationally.
The Virtual Genetics Education Centre is a genetics information and education resource in the form of an extensive web-based network that will have an international impact. It will serve as a central platform for teachers and learners in higher education and for schools, health professionals and the general public.
Raising public awareness of genetics in science, society and medicine will form an integral part of the GENIE CETL with an increase in outreach programmes by working closely with the University's Institute of Lifelong Learning.