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Fashioning new approaches to the curriculum and assessment

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Published: 28 March 2024

Imad Guenane

We speak to Imad Guenane, who joined the us earlier this year - as Principal Lecturer (Programme Development and Employability) - on his twenty-year career in higher education, what the university can learn from the fashion industry, and his charitable work for the Nations Africa Centre.  

“With the University of Sunderland in London I saw the opportunity to make a positive impact, something I’ve sought to do throughout my career.”, explains Imad, who joined the university in late January.  

Imad’s experience is broad and international. Born into a family of educators in Algeria, during his youth Imad followed his father, a professor of political science at the Sorbonne Université, shuttling between Paris and Algiers, before embarking in his own higher education career in 2001. 

Imad Guenane

Working at the University of Greenwich and the University of West London, Imad built up knowledge in leading modules, personal tutoring, and employability.  

A key career achievement was in 2018, when as Head of Creative Business and Hospitality at the London College of Contemporary Arts, Imad successfully led the opening of a new campus in Berlin – starting with only 19 students it now has a cohort of 15,000. 

Imad joins UoSiL from the University of Westminster where he was Director for Teaching and Learning for the School of Arts, and Course Director for fashion, marketing, and promotion. When asked about what this role allows him to bring to his new position, Imad reflects that “Working in the creative industry, especially fashion, has showed me the value of approaching things in different ways, the importance of attention to detail, and the need to constantly innovate.”. 

Programme development and employability at UoSIL 

Imad Guenane

Having had the chance to get to know the university and his new colleagues, Imad has several key objectives in mind. This includes updating the university’s academic programmes to embed AI and employability - to attract future students in what is a competitive landscape. 

Indeed, reflecting on the higher education marketplace, Imad explains his aim to develop UoSiL’s unique selling point and how “Competition is always welcome, it pushes innovation.”.  

Other proposals include exploring ‘assessment optionality’, giving students a choice on the method of assessment – moving beyond dissertations and exams, towards assessments that build practical skills. For example, assessing students on their proposed solutions to real industry problem case studies and pitching business ideas. “We want to reach a point where students enjoy and get enhanced value from the assessment process.”. 

The overall guiding aim - to ensure UoSiL students are ‘employability ready’, driving improvements in student outcomes.  

“I am looking forward to collaborating with colleagues on developing our academic programmes to ensure our students are employability ready – supporting the university’s professions-facing ambition.”. 

Making a positive impact away from work 

Demonstrating his passion for research, at the time of the interview, Imad had just submitted his PhD thesis ‘Investigating various pedagogical tools within UK HE’ which covers flexible learning tools and their application to AI and student employability. 

Imad Guenane

Away from work and research, Imad has also been a trustee of the Nations Africa Centre, since 2008. Based in north-west London, the charity works with young adults and communities to live better and healthier lives. This includes collaborating with major food retailers, including M&S, on the donation of food parcels. At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the charity was part of a wider effort delivering an impressive 5,000 parcels a day to residential premises and hospitals. 

Given his very international background, Imad also enjoys travel and is especially looking forward to attending a teaching and learning conference being held in Tokyo in May.