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Lews Castle College, a constituent college of the University of the Highlands and Islands, has announced the formation of an Education Hub to bring together teaching, research, and scholarship.

Based at the Stornoway campus, the new unit will dovetail current teaching activities in the delivery of the online Masters degrees in Education (M.Ed.) and in Digital Pedagogy, along with teacher training awards and supervision on doctoral research. The success of the M.Ed. programme, which is led from Stornoway, demonstrates a growing interest from education professionals in schools, colleges and universities to enhance their skills. This has encouraged demands for progression to advanced postgraduate degrees such as the taught doctorate (Ed.D.) and doctoral studies by research (Ph.D.)

Announcing the initiative, Principal Iain MacMillan said, “There is a clearly a demand out there that is ideally satisfied by part-time and online study. The demands of modern lifestyles and careers mean that busy professionals need to keep up to date but are finding less space to do that through ‘conventional’ routes. We are pleased to see registrations for our degree modules being recognised across the globe as well as in the national educational sectors.”

Although research projects and Ph.D. supervision have been undertaken at Lews Castle College UHI for more than two decades, this new initiative will lead to the discipline of Education being recognised in its own right. Previously, education was studied as part of another main disciplinary area. The new unit will provide a consistent and continuous platform for learners to progress in their studies and will further enhance the role of Lews Castle College as a key provider in the University of the Highlands and Islands.

UHI Programme Leader of the Masters in Education, Dr Gareth Davies, added, “This is a natural progression in the education awards that we already offer. Increasingly we are seeing teachers and lecturers asking to be upskilled in the theory and practice of using technology to improve educational opportunities. One of the benefits of the new Education Hub is that we will be able to respond incredibly flexibly to the needs of individual learners, both in the content that they want and the manner of delivery that they require.”

The Education Hub will work with the UHI Learning and Teaching Academy and continue to expand in the activities that are delivered from the Stornoway campus, as well as the productive partnerships with other staff throughout the UHI and in other university networks.

UHI Vice-Principal of research, Professor Neil Simco, welcomed the initiative and said, “This is another significant step in the university developing its regional strengths to the benefit of the university as a whole. The critical mass of our recent achievements in the delivery of education awards is now attracting educationalists from across the world and we hope to reach out even more students with this new Education Hub.”