The Learning Institute exists to support excellence in learning, teaching and research at Oxford by promoting staff development and by contributing to the formation of policy in educational and personnel-related matters. Where possible, the work of the Institute is informed by the findings of research.
The Institute's courses are mostly designed by us to suit the culture and practices of the University. With very few exceptions, the Institute's courses are optional, and yet they are in considerable demand, with around 2000 university and college staff participating annually. In addition, the Institute works with the divisions and departments to support them in providing their own courses tailored to the needs of their own disciplines. The Institute maintains external accreditation for three courses in educational development and one in management. Externally recognised educational qualifications are increasingly important for staff who plan to apply for academic jobs elsewhere.
Through having hosted the CETL in Preparing for Academic Practice, the Institute has become a champion for professional and educational development for early career researchers – both staff and students. The legacy of the CETL and of the Roberts Skills Training initiative is that all divisions are now active in supporting the career development of their researchers – each division with its own academic leads, training officers, and administrative support.
Another area of the Institute’s work is in furthering gender equality, especially through personal and professional development programmes for women. The Institute runs the Springboard women’s personal development programme for staff and postgraduate research students, and a mentoring programme, Ad Feminam, for women academics and administrative staff who are interested in exploring their potential for leadership.