SHULT18 – Call for contributions (external)

Call closes Monday 30th April 2018, 4pm


Corresponding with sector practice, Sheffield Hallam University acknowledges the challenge of providing opportunities for student success and has taken an institutional approach to ‘Transforming lives’ that goes beyond providing ‘good teaching’.

We are therefore pleased to invite you to contribute to the Sheffield Hallam University’s annual Learning and Teaching Conference titled: ‘Student Success – from conversation to transformation’.  Your abstract will be up to 300 words in length and will be evaluated in terms of how it responds and contributes to the conference theme and methodology, how it connects to appropriate scholarly literature and the extent to which it demonstrates how and why it would be of interest to an informed but general audience.

The two day conference takes place on 10th and 11th July 2018 and aims to provide opportunities to engage in strategic conversations around the student journey to, through and out of higher education.

Conference strands

Contributors are invited to reflect on how their current or future practice may exert influence on the following:

Student retention
Retention refers to the factors that affect degree completion. For example, accommodation, finance, emotional and psychological challenges. There are a range of practices which enable students to access and complete their university study successfully including creating an inclusive and equitable learning environment, using effective approaches to academic advising/personal tutoring and delivering curricula which engage students and promote active learning.

Student attainment
Attainment refers to how well students perform academically. It treats with issues such as stretch and rigour in the curriculum and includes, for example, overt strategies to reduce the attainment gap; using technology enhanced approaches; developing and reviewing curricula with students as partners and promoting peer-led learning.

Student outcomes
Positive student outcomes refer to the educational, societal and life effects that are the end result of the student journey through higher education. These reflect issues such as degree classification, career and academic progression and the impact that higher education has on individuals and society, for example in terms of employment rates.

Conversation Starters

The session formats for this year’s conference are a new perspective on the traditional session types. The characteristic that unites the sessions is the conversation. The starting point of this conversation is a trigger in the form of a poster, talk, a publication; anything that raises a question that can be explored by delegates.

A disruptive trigger, which embraces a “stance of questioning, challenging, and critiquing taken-for-granted ways of doing things in higher education” (Quinn et al, 2012) is an example of a conversation starter. This may be a current innovation or change in practice that is being considered – for example the use of non-supported technology in HE.

The input material can be used as the focus of a discussion designed to address/raise particular issues.

Conversation Formats

Posters – 2-3mins
Will be on display throughout the conference. Lunch/break time conversation sessions give presenters the opportunity to host casual conversations about their posters with interested colleagues. Each presenter will be asked to give a short, sharp 2-3 minute summary of their poster and then pose a stimulus question for discussion at their station.

Ignite – 5 mins
A short focussed talk on a topic or idea which is meant to ‘ignite’ the audience’s awareness, thoughts or reactions. Each speaker gets 5 minutes and should use 20 slides automatically advanced after 15 seconds. Ignite talks on similar themes will be linked together and followed by a questions and discussion.

Campfire – 30 mins
Similar to a traditional presentation, the speaker presents for between 10-15 minutes then shifts the focus to the audience as the presenter becomes the facilitator – inviting comments, insights – using stimulus questions to develop/drive the discussion for the remaining 10-15 minutes.

Reading group – 30 mins
Reading Group Hosts will nominate a reading (article, report, book) which will be advertised in advance of the conference. The article acts as a stimulus for discussion around key questions. The trigger for the group may be in the form of a proposition.

Walkshop – 45- mins
Originally from Norway, a walkshop is a contemporary spin on the traditional workshop. The idea is based on the research findings which indicate that walking can increase a person’s creative input by an average of 60%. The facilitator will choose a topic and give a short introduction. On laminated cards facilitators then provide approximately five or six stimulus questions for discussion, and then set pairs of participants out on a pre-defined destination. People are encouraged to walk – or wander – in loosely forming groups, discussing a question and then swapping cards or shifting groups when a line of thought or interaction has run its course. Participants return to the starting point and share the outcomes of their discussion.

If you have an idea for a conversation starter that is not represented here, then please suggest your own. We are keen to receive any other types of sessions/formats to act as stimuli for discussion; for example you may choose dance or drama.


Submit your abstract here

(link opens in Google docs)
ll submissions should have a lead author/key contact, and should consist of no more than 4 presenters.


Description Cost
1 day only £75
Both days £100

Registration opens w/c 7th May 2018. Discounted rates will be offered at local hotels  

If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact the conference team at