Dr Anita Diaz is a founding member of Bournemouth University’s Centre of Excellence in Learning where she leads the “Student Enhancement and Co-creation“ theme. Anita is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and has 15 years’ experience teaching in her subject discipline of conservation ecology. From her enthusiasm for sharing and creating understanding in ecology with her students, Anita has developed a broader passion for enabling others to enjoy expanding their learning horizons in what-ever direction enthuses them. She is committed to the ideal that a university experience should foster opportunities and support for the growth of self authorship in its students and is a great advocate of the benefits of universities blending provision of within-curriculum learning with provision of action learning opportunities through extracurricular and co-curricular activities. In particular Anita has encouraged the development of a range of ways in which students and staff can share inspiration and learning by co-creating new research understanding.
Self-authorship through active learning; inspiring engagement, fostering growth
Self-authorship is “the internal capacity to define one’s belief system, identity and relationships”. Enabling the growth of self-authorship in our students should be a core aspiration of all universities. Learning opportunities provided by extracurricular and co-curricular activities can particularly strongly support the development of self authorship because they provide students with opportunities to experiment in new areas of learning without the fear of losing marks that can constrain within-curriculum learning. However, students often need more mentoring support to be able to perceive and articulate their gains in skills and strengths and self-authorship through beyond-curriculum learning. Here I discuss ways in which I have sought to develop inspiring opportunities for active learning beyond the curriculum and to enable students to conceptualise and communicate their gains in skills, strengths and self-authorship.