Multi-Faith and Belief Chaplaincy, For All Faiths and None

Abundant Academy: Approach and Outcomes

Details of our approach and outcomes for Abundant Academy.

Abundant Academy Shield

How will we know if Abundant Academy is making a difference?Approach and Outcomes

We are running the Abundant Academy as an action inquiry, by which we mean that we will learn what difference it makes as we deliver it with you. We will ask you to let us know why you have come along and what you are hoping to get out of it. Later we will ask you whether you got what you needed and even whether you have been able to use your experience in the Abundant Academy to make a difference in small and larger ways in your team, in the university and ultimately in the wider world.

The Approach

The Chaplaincy Team is keen to learn from what it delivers; about what works and what could be better; and to find out more about what difference the Abundant Academy makes. It has asked Jo Kennedy from Animate to work alongside it as the ‘learning partner’ accompanying the team to ‘learn as they go’ and refine and improve their offering on the basis of that learning.

We will use an action inquiry approach that brings an appreciative and strengths based perspective to the Abundant Academy, deliberately identifying and building on what works.

Action inquiry is a process of gaining improved information about an intervention through:

  • making explicit the assumptions or theory held about how and why the actions/processes ‘work’
  • acting to improve, and at the same time to learn more about them
  • discovering what happens as a result of these interventions
  • reflecting on the discoveries with a view to reformulating the theory of ‘what works’, and
  • acting to improve again, based on the reformulated hypothesis


Together we will develop a ‘theory of change’ for the project, detailing how and why the programmes and offerings pursued are expected to lead to the aspirations detailed in the aims of the Academy (above). Over time we will articulate the corresponding ‘story of change’ - what actually happens as we put our theory into in practice, through gathering evidence in the form of stories/feedback. We will analyse these stories together using them to review and refine future offerings.

The Outcomes

Using the approach described above will enable the team to establish:

  •  whether the Abundant Academy and the Library of Abundance, are making the difference they intend to make
  • How they are making that difference
  • What other possibly unexpected or unintended, differences they are making

The approach will also enable the team to reflect, learn and plan improvement together leading to: a commitment to a common purpose and a real sense of ownership of the process. The action inquiry forum will enable team members to give one another clear and structured feedback thereby supporting one another’s practice.