Feeding the three headed monster of Higher Education

Liz MacLarty, Stuart English

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The integrated Taught Postgraduate framework (PGT) at Northumbria University supports a range of postgraduate programmes in design disciplines, design management and design practice by distance learning as well as professional doctorates. The framework provides rigorous taught modules dealing with subjects including creative thinking, research principles, intellectual property, design strategy, commercialisation, reflective practice, contemporary influences on design, design value and cross cultural communication. These theoretically grounded modules have been developed over a ten year period and provide the foundation for the PG provision at Northumbria. Students value the content of these modules but have in the past struggled to connect them and develop a mutually enforcing relationship between theory and practice. Northumbria, like many other UK universities, manages its Schools under three portfolios: Research, Enterprise and Teaching and Learning. Most academic roles operate within one of these ‘silos’ and it is often structurally problematic for academics to move between portfolios to combine their respective aims. This paper examines the difficulties faced by academics whose activities span research, enterprise and teaching and learning. It documents the recent evolution of the PGT framework at Northumbria to support the integration of these portfolios of activity for the benefit of the students, academics and school as a whole. The authors have developed a taught PG ‘lattice’ structure that maps theoretical modules of study against industry-based practice. Multidisciplinary teams of students carry out technology led projects for commercial clients supported by experts and specialists in the field. Hence the same theoretical concepts are applied from the standpoint of different disciplines within the same team. This structure has enabled the integration of distinctly theoretical areas of design expertise with their application in practice through industry based projects that: Provide teaching resources including materials, new technologies, industry specialists and commercially realistic parameters Create income and develop intellectual property leading to royalties, equity and spin off consultancy Generate research papers, publications and exhibitions. These outcomes align with teaching and learning, enterprise and research respectively. This paper presents an innovative PG model and describes case study material from strategic commercial projects with companies and consortiums.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2010
EventCLTD 5th Annual Conference: Challenging the Curriculum - Tiergarten, Berlin
Duration: 12 Apr 2010 → …


ConferenceCLTD 5th Annual Conference: Challenging the Curriculum
Period12/04/10 → …


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