Peer learning communities

Learning from and sharing knowledge with your peers can be one of the most powerful forms of professional learning and development.

The University supports a growing number of peer learning communities, empowering staff to share invaluable knowledge and insights, learn new skills from each other and grow their personal networks. These communities can be incredibly powerful learning forums, especially in an organisation as large and diverse as ours.

Starting your own peer learning community

If you are thinking of setting up your own peer learning community, or community of practice, have a look at the guidance document‌‌ PLC guidance (PDF, 874kB) to help you reflect on the questions you should ask beforehand, how to get started, how to maintain momentum, and how to evaluate whether your community is meeting the needs of its members.

You may also like to view examples of events or activities you could run to engage with your community effectively: PLC activity templates (PDF, 478kB)


Current peer learning communities

Below are some of the peer learning communities currently supported by Staff Development, but there are likely to be many more informal groups out there. You may even wish to set up your own - if so, we can help you get up and running. 

Head of School Forum

The Head of School Forum meets monthly. 

Find out more: if you are a Head of School, please find out more on the HoS Forum SharePoint Group.

Resource Managers Group

The Resource Managers Group provides resource managers with a supportive environment for peer networking and professional development. The quarterly meetings feature a combination of speaker presentations, discussion and training.

Find out more: on the RMG SharePoint site.

School Managers 

Monthly(ish!) meetings for School Managers to come together and share topical information and ideas, explore key development topics and hear from relevant speakers.

Find out more: New School Managers may contact to be added to the mailing group.

Research Professionals Network

Who are we?

We are a peer-led network, primarily for Faculty-based professional services staff who manage or have oversight of research and related activities.

We aim to enhance the working experience of our members and to maximise opportunities to add value to the University by:

  • providing peer support and sharing best practice
  • facilitating collaboration through open discussion and sharing of experiences and ideas
  • identifying relevant individual and group development opportunities
  • providing a platform from which to engage with the University Centre to catalyse positive action on issues affecting the strategy and delivery of research
  • The Network has expanded significantly since it was formed in 2018 and now includes research staff in RED, and the University Research Institutes.

What do we do?

Recent events have included seminars on Supporting the Research Project Life Cycle, University Research Institutes, the University Research Strategy and Coping with Covid.

We welcome ideas from all members on what you would find most useful for future events.

Who can join?

Anyone in a research management or coordinating role. Please contact to be added to the Network.

Communications and Marketing Network

This network is for any University staff member who would like to learn from and network with other staff from around the University who carry out comms and marketing duties. Our regular meetings are an opportunity to share skills, ideas and best practice, and feature advice and input from internal and external experts. 

Find out more: Network membership is managed via a Microsoft Group - to join the group, please follow this link

Executive Support Network

The Executive Support Network is dedicated to supporting and developing a strong and positive culture of partnership working amongst executive support staff across the University. It promotes collaboration between executive support staff from the academic and professional services. Events held by the Executive Support Network provide opportunities for identifying ways that Senior Executive Assistants (SEA’s), Executive Assistants (EA’s), and other administrative staff to senior managers can work together more effectively. Members of the Network act as champions for partnership working across the institution and communicate actively with their communities.

The Network is managed by a peer-led Steering Group, which members are welcome to join. Network events include online training, virtual summit broadcasts, informal networking meetings, and in-person away days.

Find out more on our SharePoint site, and join the conversation in MS Teams and Yammer, or email the Steering Group at

Research Staff Representation and Working Party

The Research Staff Working Party

The Research Staff Working Party meets three times per year and is chaired by Professor Deborah Wilson, Faculty Research Director. Minutes of the previous meetings are available. This group reports to the University HR Committee and the University Research Committee. 

The Research Staff Reps Committee

The Research Staff Reps Committee represents research staff from across the institution and facilitates engagement within the University. The committee meets six times a year, either side of the Working Party meetings. New members welcome.  

Engaged Learning Community

Engaged Learning gives students the opportunity to apply skills and knowledge from their academic studies to a real-world question, by working in partnership with community organisations through a variety of methods including consultancy, placements and co-production.

The Engaged Learning Community is a joint Careers Service/ BILT peer support network for academics and professional service staff interested in Engaged Learning Opportunities.  The Community aims to facilitate peer-to-peer support to share learning and develop solutions to challenges around developing pedagogy and processes for Engaged Learning projects.

Visit the SharePoint site to find out more or contact Hannah Tweddell.

EDI Forum

The EDI Forum is a community of practice for colleagues who share a responsibility or remit for equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). It provides a space where they can share ideas, experiences and best practice and support each other in advancing inclusion in the workplace.

By joining the EDI Forum, you will become part of a wider community of colleagues who are involved in equity, diversity and inclusion at the University. By building a network of staff who work in and are interested in EDI, we can support the University's strategic aims to make the University a truly inclusive organisation.

Get involved: To join our community, please email

Enterprise Practitioner Network

The Enterprise Practitioner Network are a group of people across the university working in and or interested in the dynamic fields of enterprise, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Our community acts as a catalyst for growth, learning, and collaboration, through sharing experiences that foster growth and drive innovation.

Through meaningful interactions among members, we encourage the exchange of knowledge, insights, and best practice. Together, we can tackle challenges, seize opportunities and enhance our professional development.

We aim to enhance the working experience of our members by:

  • providing peer support and sharing best practices,
  • facilitating collaboration through open discussion and sharing of experiences and ideas,
  • identifying relevant individual and group development opportunities,
  • provide access to a network of other staff working across the University in other departments and faculties.

Join the Enterprise Practitioner Network today and be part of a thriving community that nurtures your entrepreneurial spirit, encourages continuous learning, and provides a platform for meaningful collaboration.

Get involved: To join, please email


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What is a community of practice?

Read more about what a peer learning community is and how they can support learning

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