Blog posts

A spotlight on Imperial innovation in Newcastle

Dr Tiffany Chiu, Senior Teaching Fellow, Educational Development Unit

Last week, I and other Imperial staff attended the Advance HE Teaching and Learning Conference at Northumbria University in Newcastle. This year’s theme was ‘Teaching in the Spotlight: Innovation for Teaching Excellence’. The aim of this conference is for practitioners and researchers to share and explore innovative teaching practices and pedagogies in different areas of focus in higher education, which contributes to teaching excellence and the quality of student learning. The area of our contribution was under the strand ‘Innovative practice that aids transition and retention’. (more…)

The scientific iceberg

Sophie Rutschmann, Senior Lecturer, Department of Medicine

This time last year, I was in the midst of my first educational research project. As a student on the MEd ULT, I had completed my ethical approval, was finishing my interviews and transcribing them. I remember thinking that this was the tricky part, but I now know it was just the tedious one. Analysing the data, doing justice to the personal experience my participants had openly shared with me, and importantly trying to answer my research question in the least unbiased way were the challenges yet to come. I later also realised that, had I read more of the relevant literature before, I could have written sharper interview questions or picked a much narrower topic to investigate. In hindsight, I was merely re-discovering the struggles inherently associated with research, just in a new field. But by that stage, not too much could be done, so I ploughed on. (more…)

Power dynamics in student staff partnerships – a RAISE special interest group event

Mike Streule, Director, StudentShapers

I recently spent an interesting afternoon with other Student partnership practitioners and students engaged in student partnership initiatives at a half day meeting discussing power dynamics in staff-student partnership work at the University of Westminster. In recognition that our institutions instil a strong hierarchical structure amongst staff, and that generally the students fall beneath staff in that hierarchy in many contexts, provides us with a troublesome backdrop against which to facilitate student partnership projects. This backdrop leans towards uneven power distributions amongst co-workers on projects with the power bias typically leaning towards the staff. A thought provoking keynote talk by Dr Lucy Mercer-Mapstone extended this further, recognising that various characteristics such as gender, race and nationality could contribute further to the power dynamics amongst co-workers and create a complex intersectionality. (more…)

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. (more…)

A PhD in educational research: making the transition

Luke McCrone, PhD student, Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship

If someone had told me 6 years ago that I would one day be studying for a PhD in Higher Educational research at Imperial College, I would have smiled back at them in disbelief.

My acceptance of one of the first PhD studentships under the Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship illustrates an important point: educationally speaking, we have come a long way in a relatively short period. Yet being new to this field has required me to adapt. Given that educational research adopts paradigms from psychology, sociology and philosophy, the approach to methodology, data collection and analysis is initially alien to a geoscientist like myself. Learning about these fields has made me recognise the transformative potential of putting yourself out of your disciplinary comfort zone. (more…)

6th International Academic Identities Conference 2018, Hiroshima

We – Jo Horsburgh, Martyn Kingsbury and Monika Pazio – have recently returned from a trip to Hiroshima, Japan, where we presented at the 6th International Academic Identities Conference 2018 at Hiroshima University. The conference theme was ‘The Peaceful University: aspirations for academic futures – compassion, generosity, imagination and creation’ and offered us a forum for discussion of how academics’ relationships with students are changing and how those changes affect the role of the university within society from a variety of international perspectives. (more…)