This week we launched CDN’s brand new Research and Enhancement Centre at a major online event which attracted over 150 delegates from all over the UK. Event speakers included Christine Calder, Academic Lead at Dundee & Angus College, Martin Doel CBE, Visiting Professor of Leadership in FE & Skills at UCL Institute of Education, and Julia Belgutay, Head of FE at Tes, who lead a panel discussion.

In his introduction, CDN’s Chief Executive Jim Metcalfe thanked everyone involved in creating the Centre, which has been designed to drive the enhancement of college performance and student success and is a key outcome in CDN’s Strategic Framework 2020-23.

Jim said: ‘This is a great first step for colleagues in the sector to collaborate, and for us all to develop our own ideas on thought leadership. I’m really excited and optimistic about the future of the sector.’

What is the Research and Enhancement Centre?

  • It’s an information hub for existing published research which is relevant to Scotland’s colleges;
  • The Centre acts as a framework for proposing new research and enquiry work – it’s been designed to improve Scotland’s college sector;
  • This hub is a space where we can support and drive the enhancement work arising from the research.

Dougie Smith, CDN’s Research and Improvement Manager, who worked closely on creating the Research and Enhancement Centre said:

‘It was important for this not just to be a Research Centre, but that we would also focus on enhancement – because we want to enhance thinking and thought leadership in the college sector. This idea has come from college leaders and lecturers and is for the college sector.’

Grant Ritchie and Dougie Smith highlighted the need for more research in Scotland’s college sector

At the launch event, Professor Martin Doel described CDN’s Research and Enhancement Centre as providing a space to create, curate and harvest further education research.

The panel discussion was lead by Julia Belgutay and involved all of our event speakers.

Christine Calder spoke about the purpose and importance of research, explaining that research is about creating evidence to show what is happening right here, right now. She said: ‘We need to do the research so that we can tell the story of the impact of colleges.’ Christine added: ‘We need to own the debate and we need to own the research.’

‘This is a real opportunity for colleges to shine,’ said Christine Calder

In the same vein, Grant Ritchie, CDN Fellow and Associate Director, said: ‘Unless we can demonstrate the power of colleges through evidence, we will be ignored. We want to do things that people find really useful, and we want to help practitioners improve their practice. Going forward we will be judged by our usefulness to the college sector.’

Did you miss the Research and Enhancement Centre launch event? Simply click on the button below, login, go to ‘Calendar’ and then view ‘Past events and Workshops’.

Watch the event back on CDN’s virtual conference platform

Click here to check out the Research and Enhancement Centre.




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