Posted in Uncategorized


Professor Mick Healey is the world’s leading authority on research-engaged teaching, with a series of seminal publications on the research-teaching nexus ( Healey and Jenkins 2007,  2009). Mick has agreed to be the external evaluator for Student as Producer.

Mick came to Lincoln last week to run a session on setting up an evaluation framework for the project. The workshop was attended by Dan Derricott, Vice President for Academic Affairs at the SU, Professor Scott Davidson, Deputy Vice – Chancellor for Teaching Quality and the Student Experience, Karin Crawford, Principal Teacher Fellow in Heath Life and Social Sciences, Andy Hagyard, Co-ordinator for Student as Producer, Ian Snowley, the University Librarian and myself.

Mick suggested that we use a  a ‘theory of change’ (ToC) approach (Hart et al., 2009), which may be used to explain how and why a project realizes the results it achieves.  The ToC approach attempts to develop an understanding of the relationships between outcomes and the activities and contextual factors which may influence the outcomes.  One of the attractions of the ToC approach is that it may be used to extend our understanding of a project, rather than audit it.  Hence the key question in our case might be, for example: “What have we learned about making research-engaged teaching and learning an institutional prioirty?”.  It is essentially a narrative approach, which tells the story of the project.

By completing the components of the framework (see below) at the beginning of the project it can provide a road map which can be elaborated on and altered during the life of the project.  The process of developing the framework also encourages a conversation between the team members and hence promotes a greater shared understanding of what the project is trying to achieve and how will you know if it has done so.

Components of Theory of Change

1.    Current situation

2.    Enabling Factors / Resources

3.    Processes / Activities

4.    Desired Outcomes

5.    Longer-term impact

6.    Unexpected outcomes

Professor Phil Levy (Sheffield), a member of the Student as Producer Steering Committee, used the ToC approach to evaluate one of the Centres for Excellence Projects (CILASS, 2010) and then also applied it to Angela Brew’s ALTC Teaching Fellowship project (Levy, 2010).

Together with Mick, colleagues from Lincoln spent the morning working through aspects of the proposed framework to test its suitability. By the end of the workshop all agreed it would work for Student as Producer and that is should be developed further at the forthcoming Project Management Group.


CILASS (2010) CILASS Evaluation See the text and two video clips

Hart, D., Diercks-O’Brien, A.G. and Powell, A. (2009) Exploring stakeholder engagement in impact evaluation planning in educational development work, Evaluation, 15: 285-306

Healey, M. and Jenkins, A. (2009) Developing Undergraduate Research and Enquiry –

Healey, M.. Jenkins, A. and Zetter, R. ( 2007) Linking Teaching and Research in Disciplines and Departments

Levy, P (2010) Evaluation in Brew, A Fellowship Final Report