Institute for Academic Development
Institute for Academic Development

Origins of the IAD

About our merger, and the history of the former units and services that became the Institute for Academic Development.

The merging of existing units

The IAD was initiated in January 2010 by merging a number of pre-existing units and services, all of which have had important national and international reputations:

  • the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Assessment (TLA)
  • the Postgraduate Transferable Skills Unit (transkills)
  • the Researcher Development Programme

History of the previous units

Centre for Teaching, Learning and Assessment (TLA)

The Centre for Teaching, Learning and Assessment (TLA) was established in 1985, building on a programme of activities stretching back to 1970 and mounted under the auspices of the University's TLA Committee.

It aimed to help the University achieve high standards in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and learning with a remit that included not only the professional development of teaching staff but more general responsibilities for the support of innovation and dissemination of good practice in teaching, and providing advice to students on their learning.

Postgraduate Transferable Skills Unit (transkills)

The transkills unit was established in 1997 by the then Faculties of Science & Engineering and Medicine & Veterinary Medicine to support PhD researchers successfully complete their studies and prepare for future careers.

By 2003/04 transkills had a University wide and broader remit, partly linked to funding from the UK Research Councils to implement the recommendations of Gareth Roberts’ ‘SET for success’ review of research and training (2001) report.

This remit included:

  • central programmes of skills courses and career development support
  • embedded workshops within disciplinary Graduate Schools
  • the Business and Enterprise Training programme
  • supervisor briefing events
  • support for some specific Masters Programmes

Researcher Development Programme

The Researcher Development Programme was founded in the mid-late 1990s, and was based in the University's Corporate Human Resources unit. It was founded to support the University's research staff, many of whom were on fixed-term contracts. Its provision has grown substantially over the years, to provide a full range of skills training and career management support for research staff.

Researcher development staff have also been involved in a range of other support initiatives, including:

  • developing and supporting the University's Code of Practice for the Management of Research Staff
  • supporting the implementation of the UK Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers