The Teaching Enhancement Small Support Awards, or TESSAs, are small grants introduced during 2017-18, to support colleagues in enhancing teaching, learning and the student experience.

The TESSAs offer funding of between £500 and £3,000 per award, with up to £5,000 for large, high-impact, collaborative awards operating across Schools and ideally in more than one Faculty, or across Schools and PSDs. During our first two years of operation, we have awarded over £76,000 to 46 successful projects. The total funding available across both rounds in 2019-20 is expected to be up to £50,000.

Applications should be submitted by 12 noon on Tuesday 26 November 2019 for projects to start during the Spring or Summer Terms 2019-20 (with notifications of outcomes by Friday 13 December); there will be a second round for projects to start during the summer of 2020 or in the Autumn Term 2020-21 (for comparison and planning, the closing date last year was Tuesday 14 May 2019). Your project should not take more than one year in total.



The aims of the TESSAs are:

  • To encourage and enable teaching and learning innovation;
  • To improve the quality of teaching, teaching-related activity, support for teaching, and the student learning experience;
  • To assist colleagues in developing and evidencing their skills, leadership and reputation as practitioners.

Permissible uses of funding

Funding may be used for pilot equipment and software; visits; or enhancements of practice in teaching, learning, student engagement, and assessment and feedback, for example. This list is not exhaustive and novel, creative ideas are welcome. With the approval of the Head(s) of School, limited buyouts may be funded. All applications must show a clear connection with the University’s Education and Student Experience Strategy, and indicate how they will contribute to implementation of at least one of the priorities in the Strategy. Priority may be given to projects that best address strategic aims in ways that can be adopted or adapted across the University.

If you are requesting funding for equipment, software, or furniture for teaching spaces, for example, you must seek specialist advice from your Faculty Learning Technologist, who will advise you whether you also need to involve Information Services. Through this route you can check what may already be available in the University, and confirm that what you propose is compatible with current IT systems.



Applications will be assessed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Education and Student Experience; Fran Beaton (Unit for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching); and the Associate Deans - Education.
You will be expected to submit a short report on your project for the deadline date approximately one year after your application. Details will be provided to successful applicants.


All bids must be disseminated internally (for instance, through Faculty forums or University networks, or the annual learning and teaching conferences). Plans to contribute additionally to presentations at national / international conferences, publications or professional development / recognition are welcomed warmly; and travel and related costs for conferences or other contributions may exceptionally be claimed. The intention is to ensure that successful applicants gain evidence which will enhance their career progression, whether through application for the appropriate level of Fellowship of the HEA; or for a future University Teaching Prize; or contributing to a case for promotion.




Successful applications 2018-19

  1. Insights to Careers Scheme - “Insights” – Melissa Mulhall, James Corbin, Stuart Lidbetter, Tom Barrass
  2. Teaching Sustainability: Sustainable Teaching – Dr William Rowlandson, Dr Catherine Morris, Tifanny Oudin-Dubois
  3. Diversifying SECL Reading Lists – Dr Laura Bailey, Alison Webb, Emma Mires-Richards
  4. A scoping Exercise to explore the potential of developing Second Life as a Simulation Tool for MA Students to use in child protection practice – Professor Jane Reeves
  5. Explore Kent: local literary locations – Dr Declan Wiffen
  6. SECL Skills Modules: “Study Skills”, “Developing Graduate Attributes and Employability Skills”, and “Intercultural Competency: Theory and Practice”’ – Dr Anna Katharina Schaffner
  7. Writing Mind: Languages of Neurodiversity – Dr Eleanor Perry
  8. The Use of Online Quizzes and Video Tutorials as Tools of Enhancing Student Learning Experience in Methods and Statistics - Lazaros Gonidis, Dr John Sabo, Dr Dinkar Sharma
  9. Improving student satisfaction with Assessment and Feedback through the use of Audio Feedback - Lazaros Gonidis, Dr John Sabo
  10. Visualising Mathematical Symmetry - Dr Christopher Bowman
  11. CLICK Programme Pilot: A Work Shadowing Scheme to Support Students’ Career Interest Clarification - Dr Kathleen M Quinlan and James Corbin
  12. Advanced training for GTAs in order to embed effective ice-breakers in seminars - Dr Maria Garcia-Alonso and Dr Marta Ponari
  13. Enhancing teaching innovation by integrating student interaction within lectures - Frank Gasking
  14. Using strengths-based video analysis with social work students to develop communication skills - Dr Eleni Skoura-Kirk
  15. Piloting the Feedback and Engagement Tracking System (FEATS) at Kent - Dr Edd Pitt



Successful applications 2017-18

  1. Enhancing teaching innovation by using short video clips to summarize lectures. (Dr Adolf Acquaye, Kent Business School)
  2. Live-streaming teaching material to social media: extending teaching and learning beyond physical spaces (Dr Peter Klappa, Biosciences)
  3. Online internship and Personal Statement guidance for History of Art and Media students (Dr Grant Pooke and Tracey Falcon, School of Arts)
  4. Bringing contemporary Irish writing to Kent: the symposium and learning environment (Dr Declan Kavanagh, School of English)
  5. Visual ethnography in the city: documenting the experience of the first SSPSSR Summer school in urban ethnography in Paris (Dawn Lyon, David Garbin and Erin Sander-McDonagh, SSPSSR)
  6. Developing and assessing learning by means of a virtual exhibition (Dr Jonathan Friday, School of Arts)
  7. What triggers students’ interest during lectures? (Dr Kathleen Quinlan, Centre for the Study of Higher Education)
  8. Development of an electronic platform for an interactive module specification template (Dr George Dobre, Faculty of Sciences and Dr Tim Kinnear, SPS)
  9. Enhancing the learning experience of KBS students through innovation in international student projects – Sim venture competition (Ms Rebecca Smith, Kent Business School)
  10. Engaging the millennial student through social media (Professional Services Staff, School of Economics)
  11. Encouraging student engagement and learning with iClicker polling software (Per Laleng, Kent Law School)
  12. Thinking outside the box: creative methods to support PhD students’ wellbeing (Jo Collins, Graduate School and Nicole Brown, SSPSSR)
  13. Evaluating the effectiveness of professional development of educational leaders through participation in the Route to Recognition for Experienced Staff (HEA RRES) (Dr Julia Hope and Dr Silvia Colaiacomo, Centre for the Study of Higher Education)
  14. Enhancing students learning experience with a multi-screen setup displaying custom videos played on a loop during taught sessions and then as part of an interactive TouchCast programme. A pilot project. (Sadie Jones and Deana Stephens, SSES)
  15. Video and Image Data Collection in Teaching (VIDCIT) (Dr James Bentham and Dr Rachel McCrea, SMSAS)
  16. Shush and Write Plus (Dr Anne-Marie Brennan, Centre for Professional Practice)
  17. Using Catch-box as a student engagement tool (Dr Catherine Robinson, Kent Business School)




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Last Updated: 16/10/2019