The University of Sussex in collaboration with the National Universities Commission is organizing a 5-Day intensive professional development course in Abuja from 25th – 29th September, 2017 with the overarching objective of improving the pedagogical knowledge, skills and competence of Nigerian academics.


The intensive professional development course has been designed to provide a strategically-focused, intensive introduction to up-to-date, research-informed pedagogic approaches across a wide range of HE Teaching and Learning issues in the contemporary competitive, international HE sector.  Participants will  develop the skills and vision to lead cultural change in their institutions and in the  Nigerian HE sector, and will go on to  cascade learning to colleagues to spread excellent practice and ultimately strengthen provision for students and Nigeria’s compatibility as a global HE provider.

Alongside focus on key aspects of HE Teaching and Learning including pedagogic approaches to teaching large groups; assessment and feedback; and creating inclusive teaching environments for diverse students including those with disabilities; the training hence also includes a strong coaching and mentoring component, informed by the expertise of the course instructors.

Alongside trainer delivered content, the course  includes ongoing opportunities for active participant group work and discussion, targeted to developing supportive national networks for ongoing pedagogic development and expertise-sharing.


  1. Reflect on professional experience to identify key individual, institutional and national pedagogic opportunities and challenges in HE Teaching and Learning provision.
  2. Draw on relevant pedagogic insights to support opportunities for development and identify strategic responses to challenges and plan effective learning approaches for HE.
  3. Demonstrate application of understanding of issues around creating inclusive learning environments for diverse students including in terms of gender, ethnicity and disability.
  4. Work collaboratively with others focusing on HE pedagogic issues, demonstrating understanding and ability to cascade change by coaching others institutionally and lead cultural change.


The course delivery models Teaching and Learning practice by incorporating a range of formats that include tutor delivery; small and large group activities and discussion; self-reflection on practice; peer feedback; and flipped learning through advance preparation of material.  There is a strong focus throughout on utilising an action-learning approach, whereby course participants support each other through listening and responding to experiences of HE teaching challenges in professional practice.

The course is assessed by group poster presentations, prepared throughout the course of the training week, and presented during a closing celebration session as part of the final day.  Participants will be assigned to groups on the basis of role and institution, providing a targeted opportunity to maximise learning opportunities through fostering dialogue to share institutional best practice across the Nigerian HE sector, and modeling collaborative working.

Poster foci will be based on agreed priority areas as identified through training focus and participant discussion within each group. Participants will be supported in developing their posters by the course team through group sessions and individual support throughout the week.

Course assessment is marked on a Pass basis and all participants will receive a University of Sussex certificate of course participation as part of the closing celebration ceremony.

 Workshop Content

The course has been designed by experienced university tutors at the University of Sussex with adjustments to accommodate needs of Nigerian professional academics.

Day 1: Introducing Leaders in Higher Education Pedagogy

Morning and afternoon:

This 2- part session spread over the first day, provides an overview of the week, introducing the participants to the scheduled programme and the professional knowledge base on HE teaching.  This also includes guidance on preparing for the group poster presentation course assessment and opportunities to ask initial questions.

A central component of the week’s focus is the opportunity for Senior Higher Education professionals to engage intensively in reflective thinking and discussion around implementing strategies for teaching excellence.  This knowledge-sharing will inform collaborative development of effective approaches for leading cultural change in Nigerian higher education.  As such we begin the week by engaging in some preliminary brainstorming group work around current contexts of Nigerian University Teaching and Learning, and shared opportunities for positive change.

This session also introduces participants to understanding and employing approaches such as Coaching, Mentoring, and Cooperative Development to act as institutional leaders of cultural change by cascading knowledge and inspiring capacity-building, thereby supporting colleagues to further pedagogic innovation.

Day 2:  Approaches to Teaching

Morning and afternoon:

This 2 part session explores and addresses the particular challenges of working with large teaching groups, investigating how teaching styles can be adapted to maximise learning opportunities.  In doing so, it encompasses issues including maintaining students’ engagement; supporting active learning; and acknowledging diverse learning needs and styles.  This session also introduces the rationale behind, and the uses and benefits of the “Flipped classroom” – delivering teaching content in advance and using face- to-face sessions as a space in which to develop what have traditionally been conceptualised as ‘homework’ activities – asking students to work actively and creatively to solve problems using insights gained from their learning.  It explores how ideas behind the flipped classroom might be implemented in different teaching and disciplinary contexts and the opportunities presented by using a range of mobile and web technologies.

Day 3: Inclusive Teaching: Diversity and Support

Morning – Supporting engagement of diverse students in HE:

This session explores what is involved in creating an inclusive learning environment, and the rationale behind the need for this.  It considers the need to assume that there will be diverse and different students in our sessions – in terms of aspects of identity, ways of learning, and support needs.  We will consider the importance of acknowledging and valuing diversity including in terms of gender, and disability, as well as drawing on pedagogic literature about decolonising the curriculum, which focuses attention on issues of race and ethnicity.  The workshop encompasses addressing the need for consideration of issues including selection of appropriate readings and teaching materials and provision of these, as well as the pace of provision and break scheduling.

Afternoon – supporting learning:  Developing study skill, information literacy and career development: This session focuses on the role of academic staff in supporting students’ HE outcomes beyond direct imparting of academic content, by embedding wider skills development in learning activities including teaching, learning and assessment.  This includes providing guidance on how to foster and develop students’ information literacy and understandings around plagiarism; their study skills and attributes; their personal development and wellbeing, and, critically, their employability and entrepreneurial skills.  This session discusses how to design multi-purpose curricula that deliver knowledge, alongside a broad range of skills and attributes for both academic and career success.

Day 4: Assessment and feedback

Morning – Approaches to assessment and feedback

This session considers principles of marking, assessment and feedback, including the relevant theories underpinning these.  It supports participants in the setting and application of modes of assessment and marking criteria, considering the relevance of course level and desired objectives.

Afternoon – Postgraduate teaching, supervision and assessment (for staff with current or planned postgraduate teaching responsibilities only.  Alternative session for non- PG teaching colleagues):  Many universities worldwide are increasing the number of taught postgraduate programmes they offer, and students are keen to gain such postgraduate awards.  However, it is not always clear looking at curriculum descriptors for postgraduate programmes how the levels of learning differ from those required at undergraduate level, although those who teach on them are clear about the differences.

This session will provide opportunities to discuss the differences in learning outcomes, teaching and assessment approaches and expectations of students between undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Day 5: Closing Day – Maintaining Momentum in Transforming Higher Education Teaching: Poster presentations and closing ceremony

Morning – Intensive study groups

Final group preparations for poster presentations with opportunities for facilitator input

Afternoon – Plenary session

Poster presentations, introduction to ongoing professional development strategies and closing keynote speeches.

Award to participants of University of Sussex Leaders in Higher Education Pedagogy Certificate of Completion.


The course is designed for a maximum of one hundred participants drawn from across the Nigerian University system.



Dr. Suleiman Ramon-Yusuf

Director of Research, Innovation and Information Technology

For: Executive Secretary