Students and staff took part in a Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Online Celebration on 5th May 2020 to share their project work and VIP experiences. They were joined by UK pioneers of VIPs from the University of Strathclyde. The event also marked the successful completion of the VIP pilot programme, which launched at Bath in February. The pilot was a collaboration between the Centre for Learning & Teaching (CLT) and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS).
The VIP pilot brought together over 30 undergraduate and postgraduate students, and 5 academic staff from departments across the University to work closely together on research-based group projects that focused on community engagement, sustainable transport, student wellbeing and technology for social care.
Vertically Integrated Projects (VIPs) are research-based or knowledge transfer projects that enable inter-disciplinary, multi-level teams to work together on research problems or grand challenges. Although VIPs are well established internationally, particularly in the USA, where they have their origins, the only UK-based university to formally adopt them to date is the University of Strathclyde.
Interest in the initiative has been overwhelming and, on the whole, the VIP pilot programme is seen as a positive experience by those involved. In particular, students welcomed the opportunity to contribute to local issues as well as develop a wide range of skills, including collaboration, communication and adaptability. As part of the Online Celebration, VIP student were encouraged by the Careers Service and Skills Centre to reflect on how they could make best use of these skills during their future studies or careers.
Dr Andy Pitchford, Head of Learning and Teaching in the Centre for Learning & Teaching, said, “Despite a number of challenges, including the move to online teaching halfway through the pilot, the enthusiasm and ‘can-do’ approach of all participants kept the process moving. Successful completion of all four projects is testament to the determination, commitment and intellect of all contributors and we are grateful to everyone for their efforts throughout.
We hope that this is just the start of VIPs at Bath. A core body of participants are keen to continue and there appears to be a shared sense that momentum has been established. We are exploring where the embedding of VIPs into the curriculum could further support interdisciplinary research at Bath whilst also providing fantastic learning opportunities for students”.
Colleagues from across the University will have an opportunity to find out more about the VIP pilot programme at Bath and the wider initiative at an online event taking place on Tuesday 9th June. Dr Andy Pitchford will be joined by a panel made up of VIP academic leads and students at Bath, as well as Prof Stephen Marshall, University of Strathclyde. Colleagues can sign up to attend the online event by emailing Sue Watts at: email@example.com.
To view the VIP project presentation videos, together with further information about the projects and the VIP initiative, go to the CLT Hub.