At Queen Mary, we believe engaged teaching is an important part of the curriculum for undergraduate and postgraduate students. This approach ensures that students have the opportunity to learn from the communities around them, and share their learning in a way that contributes to society.
Many forms of teaching and learning activities at Queen Mary involve collaborations with local community leaders and London-wide partners. You can see examples of these below.
The ‘Introduction into Politics’ module for first-year undergraduates aims to teach students about politics from the inside out and its’ relevance to the world outside of university. The Tower Hamlets branch of London Citizens assists in the delivery of this module to teach how local communities respond to national and global issues and how local campaigns influence national policies. This is achieved through exploring community organising principles and putting these skills into practice locally on projects in Tower Hamlets.
A year 1 ‘Ideas and Practice in Geography and Environmental Science’ module cohort conducted action research in the nearby Roman Road area, supported by Roman Road Trust and Tower Hamlets Council. Questionnaires and interview research from students informed Roman Road Trust funding applications and the Tower Hamlets Council new waste strategy.
Year 2 and 3 undergraduate modules have long-term engagement within a local school or community context, working alongside a school or an organisation across a semester. This includes working with Magic Me, an intergenerational arts charity; Tender, an arts charity working with young people to prevent domestic abuse and sexual violence; and Heart N Soul, a creative arts charity working with people with learning disabilities.
The Social Venture Fund has launched in 2020-21 to empower students and recent graduate entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing society today. The fund is the first student-led venture capital fund investing in student-led social enterprises in the UK. It provides opportunities for students to develop their entrepreneurial knowledge and skills with support from industry mentors as well as academics. Student investors will advise and invest in real-life early-stage start-ups with a social mission.
Queen Mary’s award-winning Legal Advice Centre is run by second and final year undergraduate student advisors who are completing a specialist module in the curriculum. Each student has five local clients where they are the Student Adviser with responsibility for the case and work with supervision to support the legal needs of their clients.
The ‘Global Public Health and Policy’ taught Masters programme explores the consequences for health and wellbeing when people are unequal, considers the social determinants that drive these inequalities and looks at how policy-making at local, national, and international levels can change things at a population level. As part of the programme, students can undertake a community-based dissertation project. Examples have included mapping local mental health services with Tower Hamlets Council for Voluntary Services (THCVS) and projects with London Citizens and Toynbee Hall.
In 2019, Queen Mary launched the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship, specifically designed for the social sector and includes a range of charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises.
The apprenticeships were designed with the goal to encourage future leaders of thought and creativity, to explore career opportunities in the social sector and tackle the global challenges that lie ahead. The undergraduate programme is the first of its kind in the UK.