A relatively new idea back then, the course is now being run at
six UK centres and students are flocking to take it.
Academic and Operations Director, Liz Munro, said: "It's great
that the Common Purpose course is taking off. It is a key part of
our differentiation strategy and creates a fantastic opportunity
for students to develop leadership skills, meet local business
leaders, and become more integrated with the community while
enhancing their CVs for future employment.
"Courses run to date have been an outstanding success with
wonderful feedback from students. We will be continuing to develop
the programme next year to see how it can become more integrated
into the course of study."
INTO University of Exeter is the latest centre to have run a
Common Purpose programme, inviting fifty students to take part in
group tasks, presentations and visits to local businesses over four
days in the March student break.
One highlight was a lesson on the globally recognised Chatham
House rule, which allows people to speak openly at meetings in the
knowledge that their views will not be shared publicly. Students
were encouraged to apply the rule during the course in order to
gain confidence by trusting their peers.
In another activity students worked in teams to find clues
hidden around the University grounds, in order to open a box. To
open the box, all the clues had to be found and submitted in a
given order - something that tested the students' patience but
taught them the value of cooperation and communication in a
There were also engaging talks from Captain Jack Anrude of the
Royal Marines, who spoke about his experiences as a leader in
battle in Afghanistan, and Chris Hines MBE who described his
courage and determination in leading the Surfers Against Sewage
campaign of the 1990's.
The students warmed to both speakers, as they did to the rest of
the programme's tasks and activities.
"The course made me more confident, improved my speaking and
listening skills. I also learnt about leadership," said one.
"It was definitely a positive impact. The guest speakers made
the experience amazing by exposing us to so many new perspectives
and ideas," another said.
Further Common Purpose programmes are planned in the coming
months. This week UEA will host 30 students over four days,
followed by UEA London in mid April, INTO Manchester and INTO
Newcastle in May, and INTO Scotland in July.