Dr Tiffany Chiu, Senior Teaching Fellow in Educational Development, Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship (CHERS)

“For me, the most satisfying moment is when I see colleagues put what they have learnt into practice.”

I work in the Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship where I co-lead the PG Cert in University Learning and Teaching which enhances staff learning, teaching and assessment practices. I previously taught research and academic writing skills to undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of East London. I found it fascinating to shift from teaching students to teaching staff. For me, the most satisfying moment is when I see colleagues put what they have learnt into practice and can explain the educational rationales and pedagogies that underpin their activities. 

I am currently also Principal Investigator for the Supporting the Identity Development of Underrepresented Students (SIDUS) which aims to promote inclusion and support success for STEMM students from underrepresented groups. Our team conducted 110 interviews with underrepresented students to explore their lived experiences, including their successes, challenges and opportunities. We are currently working with three brilliant StudentShapers students, to develop pedagogical materials to promote inclusion, educational aspirations and student success. I am very excited to see how our materials can support staff and students! 

In the last few months, perhaps the most surreal thing was the publication of The Ideal Student, a book I co-authored with Dr Billy Wong from the University of Reading. I cannot count how many days and nights I tried to produce ‘words’ on the top of my everyday job. What got me through was determination and my strong belief that we should be transparent in our expectations of students as this can reduce inequalities caused by assumptions and help to better manage different viewpoints. I’m pleased our work has been used in the Dyson School of Design Engineering and the Department of Life Sciences, as well as by colleagues in Australia, China and the US. 

Outside of work, I have recently started to play the piano again (after a 20-year break!) and I found this to be rather good for my mental wellbeing. I don’t (and can’t!) think about work when I practise. Last but not least, I miss my family in Taiwan and hope I get the chance to visit them soon. Of course, I won’t forget to bring a signed copy of my book for my parents!  

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