Keeping it real: a search for efficacy and authenticity across paradigms

On Wednesday 16 January an enthusiastic audience gathered for the inaugural lecture of Professor Martyn Kingsbury, Imperial’s first Professor of Higher Education, Head of the Educational Development Unit (EDU) and Director of the Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship (CHERS).

Martyn’s autobiographical lecture focused on his journey from school in rural Devon to studying Applied Biology at the University of Bristol and gaining industrial experience in both forensic science and veterinary diagnostic biochemistry. He then completed a PhD at the University of Bath on the cardiovascular effects of atenolol and nitrendipine. After a post-doc position at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, Martyn moved to Imperial College London by way of St Mary’s Hospital.

Martyn Kingsbury presenting on stage

Photography by Fergus Burnett

Drawing on the parallels between efficacy and authenticity in pharmacology and education, Martyn told the audience about his transition from scientist to educationalist through participation in the CASLAT (Certificate of Advanced Study in Learning and Teaching) programme, which eventually lead to his appointment as Head of the EDU in January 2011. Martyn thanked those who he had worked with along the way, some of whom – including his PhD supervisors – were able to attend the lecture.

Concluding the lecture, Martyn formally launched the Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship, which will provide a home for educational research across all faculties at Imperial College, promoting existing ventures and helping those interested in research to started through resources and networking opportunities.

Referring to his experience of Japanese culture, Martyn marked the start of the CHERS venture by filling in the first eye of a Daruma doll, remarking that ‘I hope over the coming years, we will fill the other one in as we become more outward looking and have an ever-greater voice in STEM education in the UK and hopefully, beyond’.

Martyn Kingsbury drawing an eye on a red Japanese Daruma doll
Photography by Fergus Burnett

Dr Jane Saffell, Deputy Principal Education at St George’s University of London and previously Associate Dean for Science & Postgraduate Education at Imperial gave a strongly-deserved vote of thanks in which she referred to Martyn’s patience, passion and ambitious vision for the new centre.

If you missed Martyn’s lecture, you can watch it on YouTube. Follow the centre on Twitter @Imperial_CHERS

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