University College for Interdisciplinary Learning

Professor Cathy McCrohan appointed as new Academic Director of UCIL

16 March 2016

Professor Cathy McCrohan, from the School of Biological Sciences will take over from Professor Peter Lawler as Academic Director of UCIL, taking up the position this August.

Cathy views her recent appointment as an exciting opportunity to further UCIL’s vision to provide interdisciplinary opportunities for all our undergraduates across the University.

She will work with colleagues from across the University to lead ambitious plans for phase 2 of UCIL, which will also feature key contributions to Stellify.

Cathy said: "I am delighted to take up this role. I am a strong supporter of interdisciplinary learning and scholarship, both for the intrinsic benefits to all of us, and to prepare our graduates better for the world beyond university.

Professor Clive Agnew, Vice President for Teaching, Learning & Students said: "It is an exciting time to be involved in interdisciplinary learning as we enter phase 2 of UCIL along with the recent launch of Stellify. "I worked closely with Cathy when she was Associate Dean for Teaching, Learning & Students and look forward to helping her deliver our vision for the College."

Introducing the UCIL Academic Community

16 March 2016

As you know, UCIL is made up of courses and conveners from across all corners of The University of Manchester. This interdisciplinary design in construction makes it a fantastic opportunity for students to engage with subjects away from their traditional discipline but at the same time can often make us feel like we are working in isolation. In fact we are part of a 70+ strong team, working collectively towards educational enrichment.

Today we take a step towards bringing us a little closer together with the launch of the UCIL Academic Community. We hope this will be used for collaboration, sharing ideas and, importantly, be a central space to help you with everything in your UCIL course development.

The UCIL Central Team have created a space packed with features which aims to provide the entire team with information, resources and opportunities to discuss, grow and collaborate. The UCIL Community includes:

  • Useful downloads such as multimedia and marketing materials
  • A regularly updated image gallery featuring completely royalty free imagery to support teaching & learning needs
  • A section dedicated to provide information and guidance for supporting UCIL interdisciplinary courses
  • An open community blog for sharing thoughts, opinions, requests and news stories
  • A range of forums to discuss interdisciplinary educational matters;
  • Regularly updated resources to engage with effective technology to support teaching & learning.

We hope that the UCIL Academic Community will be an evolving resource: a continual work in progress but one that is shaped by all of us.

Please take a moment to have a explore it in the Communities section of Blackboard (below courses in central column). And please let us know what you think; there is a thread created in the General Discussion forum ready for feedback. If you are not logged into Blackboard, you will have to click this link twice; once to login to Blackboard and once again to access the UCIL Community.

All staff are welcome to explore the UCIL Academic Community but forums & sharing are reserved for enrolled members. If you would like to become a member of the UCIL Community, please contact UCIL Administration with your staff ID.

UCIL Interdisciplinary MOOC

10 February 2016

As you know the University of Manchester already offers a number of MOOCs and we think that introducing a MOOC as part of the of UCIL offer would have a number of advantages:

  • Freedom from timetabling constraints
  • Connecting assessed students with the wider MOOC taking community
  • Providing truly interdisciplinary content
  • Utilising the extensive high quality MOOC content already available

We'd love to hear what the UCIL Community thinks about this exciting initiative.

We've made a few changes...

21st October 2015

University College for Interdisciplinary Learning has undergone significant changes for 2015-16 Academic Year. As you can see from the top of this newsletter, we have a crisp, clean new logo for 'UCIL'. We have also introduced 6 themes and updated the look of the Awards to give UCIL a clear visual identity.

Why have we made these changes?

Responding to the extensive market research carried out last year, we wanted to make UCIL seem more exciting and recognisable around campus. As students will be taking our course units from beyond their degree programme, we need to ensure the benefits of interdisciplinarity are clearly conveyed and outweigh the perceived risks of studying outside of their School.

As well as the visual changes, the UCIL website itself has altered. The website has been rewritten to ensure students receive consistent messages from across the Directorate for the Student Experience, and so the UCIL website is optimised for search engines and for the new My Manchester when it comes into effect. Students can now search the vast range of course units available to them by semester, theme and skill. The structure of the site has also been changed so students navigate through the site in a logical way.

All these changes mean that students now have a greater understanding of what UCIL is and are able to make an informed choice of how to go beyond their degree. We have had great feedback from our marketing and the various outreach events we have already attended this academic year. We are extremely pleased that our student enrolments have increased over 75% from 2014/15, and these numbers will continue to grow until the beginning of Semester 2.


21st October 2015

As well as being able to search by semester and by theme, students can now also search course units by key skills that they will develop from studying a UCIL course unit. The skills that have been highlighted have been influenced by the skills that are used by My Learning Essentials and that are the most prominent skills that students are looking to develop. Students can now choose course units based on timetable, interests and skillset. This is used as a search function for students to choose course units and as with all academic units, all UCIL course units will develop critical thinking, research and communication skills. The skills that students can search by are:

  • Commercial awareness
  • Creativity
  • IT skills
  • Leadership & Ethics
  • Numeracy
  • Oral communication
  • Project management
  • Research
  • Teamwork
  • Written communication

UCIL Newsletter

The UCIL Newsletter provides member of staff with updates relating to UCIL and interdisciplinary learning, and provides a space to share ideas and promote good practice.

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