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Learning Enhancement and Development

Dr Matthew J.Williamson

We are pleased to announce that Dr Matthew J. Williamson will deliver a keynote speech at the 2016 Learning at City Conference

Dr Matthew J. Williamson PFHEA

Director, Learning and Teaching Centre

University of Glasgow

Listen to the keynote


What do universities mean by ‘excellent teaching’? And does anyone else agree?

There is currently much discussion about ‘excellent teaching’. A number of measures of ‘excellent teaching’ already exist – for instance, the National Teaching Fellowships Scheme, which “celebrates excellent practice and outstanding achievement” (HEA 2015), and the development of a ‘Teaching Excellence Framework’ is the latest attempt to define and measure what makes for quality learning at university. But what do universities mean by ‘excellent teaching’? What do students think? Drawing on my own research and my work with a number of institutions, I will outline some ways in which we as educators can both recognise and embody excellent teaching.


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Turner, R., and Gosling, D., 2012. Rewarding excellent teaching: The translation of a policy initiative in the United Kingdom, Higher education quarterly, 66 (4), pp. 415-430

Weissmann, P. F. et al, 2—6. Role modelling humanistic behaviour: learning bedside manner from the experts, Academic medicine 81 (7), pp. 661-667

Williamson, M., 2011. What makes an outstanding university teacher? Quantifying and classifying student descriptions of excellence in teaching Seminar presented at Queen Mary University of London, 17th October 2011

Matthew Williamson


Matthew started his career in public libraries, but moved to a focus on learning very early: having completed his PhD on how jobseekers learn in order to improve their employment prospects, he became a lecturer at the University of Brighton. After a foray into running programmes in practical media production, he moved to Queen Mary University of London where he worked on projects as diverse as establishing grade-related assessment criteria, overseeing the teaching aspects of the College’s successful application for Degree Awarding Powers and devising and embedding a Code of Practice on Assessment and Feedback. Matthew established the Learning and Teaching Conference, student-led teaching awards and the annual Drapers’ Lecture in Learning and Teaching and, as Head of Educational Development, developed and led the College’s strategy for 100% of staff who teach to have external recognition of their teaching by 2019. In November 2015, Matthew was appointed Director of the Learning and Teaching Centre at the University of Glasgow, leading a team of academic developers, learning technologists, media production professionals and student learning advisers to support student success across the University.