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Professional Identities in Academia


Spring 2019

ISSN 2050-9987 (Print)

Early Bird Deadline: Friday 03 May 2019

The Assessment in Higher Education (AHE) conference 26 & 27 June 2019 is located in Manchester, England. This exciting conference brings together leading international researchers and academic developers to share new research and innovation focused on practice and policy in assessment in higher education. For more information on the AHE network visit

The conference will include a combination of new thinking from keynote speakers, Phill Dawson (Associate Professor at Deakin University, Australia) and Bruce Macfarlane (Professor of Higher Education at University of Bristol, England), presentations on current research and sharing of innovative practice will provide a high-quality forum for debate. Delegates are also invited to attend a series of Master Classes prior to the start of the conference on Wednesday 26 June 2019. Experts in the field of assessment will be leading six parallel sessions: Emeritus Professor David Boud: Developing evaluative judgement within courses Emerita Professor Sally Brown: Making assessment work for you: Pragmatic ways of assessing students in large classes Professor David Carless: Developing staff and student feedback literacy in partnership Assoc. Professor Phill Dawson: Detecting contract cheating Professor Peter Hartley: Programme Assessment Strategies: Learning from a decade of PASS Assoc. Professor Geraldine O’Neil: Authentic Assessment: Concept, Continuum and Contested We are also delighted to host the launch of two new publications at the conference. Designing effective feedback processes: A learning-focused approach by Naomi Winstone and David Carless and Innovative Assessment in Higher Education: A Handbook for Academic Practitioners Edited by Cordelia Bryan & Karen Clegg.

We look forward to welcoming you at the conference. The draft conference programme is now available on-line. For further details and to register for conference go to the AHE Network website The AHE network and conference are organised by an independent executive committee. For all enquiries please contact: Linda Shore Tel: (01228) 616338

The AHE: Leading research-informed practice in assessment for learning in higher education

Editorial Bridget Hanna and Anne Tierney There is a saying in LA that if you ask waiting staff what they do they will say they act. It sounds like a straightforward question but ‘what you do’ and ‘who you are’ aren’t always the same thing. It’s about relating to your job as part of a wider experience of work as identity. When someone asks us what we do we say we are academics. How does everyone accept this? Clearly what we do at work is part of the answer. Doing the work is one thing but do we do it well? When organisations try and measure ‘work’ this introduces the question of what they value in our work. Why would we measure something we don’t care about? There are two key issues: what can be measured and what should be measured. Actually there is a third. What the effects of those measurements have (and were they the ones intended?). Often what is measured is what is measurable rather than what is important. We can say how many scripts someone has marked but not necessarily the quality of that marking. Proxy measures are also an issue (we don’t measure learning directly, but through student outputs from assessments). We argue here that measurement at work could be positive. To do this requires thinking differently about measurement. Measurements at work don’t have to be retrospective. Used prospectively they can create valued ways of working for specific purposes (Dean, 1999). Measurements can be conceptualised as future forming (Gergen, 2015), giving us power to take forward our own ways of thinking about being an academic. What measurements impact on your life and how do they work? When thinking about these what emerges are student surveys, module evaluations, promotions criteria, REF and now TEF. We obsess over league tables and rankings. Measurements abound. These measurements aren’t neutral but are often a reflection of the thinking of their creators. REF, for example, has had a demonstrable impact on the quality of papers published in the year prior to the exercise. TEF threatens to do the same, with the ongoing discussion of grade inflation. These are the ‘unintended consequences’ of measurement at work.

Perhaps the question should be “should we be measuring it at all?” How many of us have heard of AHELO, CALOHEE or QILT? All methods developed to try to measure academic achievement, they each ran into difficulties. The story is familiar; unsuitable methodology, insufficiently meaningful indicators, inherent bias and unreliable data. Much of what we want to measure is qualitative in nature, and many of the benefits of HE are not apparent until students have long left the institution, making meaningful “measurement” super-complex and expensive. Issues with measurements mean they are often unhelpful and can produce unintended consequences. They frequently produce the ‘exact’ result they ask for, instrumentalising behaviour. Now we know this we can think about what sort of future we want as academics. We can literally create our own future. How might we use assessments more radically to promote our visions of working in the academy? Rather than asking ‘how did we do?’ which is evaluative and backward looking we can ask ‘what and how can we create the future?’ which is generative and forward looking (Gergen, 2015). Answers on a postcard… References Dean, M. (1999). Govermentality: Power and Rule in Modern Society. Sage, London. Gergen, K. J. (2015). From Mirroring to World-Making: Research as Future Forming. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 45:3. DOI: 10.1111/jtswb.12075

Contents 3 Editorial Bridget Hanna and Anne Tierney 4 Going Full Circle Ellis Urquhart 5 Difference is a Beautiful Thing Richard Whitecross 6 Reflections of a Faculty Community Facilitator Gráinne Barkess and Anne Tierney 8 Reflections from the Field Martina Birotti and Mabel Victoria

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9 Different Methods of Inquiry Bringing Different Contributions to Actionresearching of Online Sense of Belonging John Cowan 10 “Who Are You In This?” Connie Mcluckie 11 10 Questions Katrina Swanton 12 Book Review Louise Drumm

13 ICERI2018 Conference Report Stevie Robertson 14 Volunteering in Pathein Kate Durkacz, Andy Garcia, Mat Lucky and Andrea Salvador 15 MathsPlus is 30! Kate Durkacz 16 Diary Dates 18 Current Teaching Fellows 19 TFJ Editorial Team


Professional Identities in Academia

Going Full Circle The journey from Undergraduate to Postgraduate Research and into Lectureship at Edinburgh Napier University Ellis Urquhart I arrived at Napier University in September 2008, when we still had Faculties and when WebCT was the height of sophistication. I subsequently completed a Bachelor’s degree in 2013 and then my PhD in 2018 - both within the Business School and the same subject group. After ten years and two degrees, I now find myself coming full circle as a newly appointed Lecturer in Tourism to teach the next generation of Edinburgh Napier University students. In reflecting on my journey, I genuinely believe that each of the stages has provided me with unique insight into aspects of university life. For example, I only completed my undergraduate dissertation in 2013 and as such, the process is still emblazoned on my mind. This has been particularly useful in having frank and honest discussions with my own students and indeed when I teach the module to our cohorts overseas. Similarly, having completed a programme that still runs within the Business School, I have progressed through the majority of modules that our students study. This has led to a few comical moments when I open up sample assessments on Moodle, only to find my own submissions from previous years. This has,however, provided a unique opportunity to advise students on my own approach at completing the modules that they are now engaged with. From this perspective, when I tell students “I know exactly what you are going through” - it is indeed the truth. During my PhD, I built an in-depth understanding of how research,


innovation and commercialisation feed into both the Business School and the University’s objectives. This process also encouraged me to shift professional identity from that of a student to a more rounded researcher within a vibrant academic community. While there have been positives to reconfiguring academic identities within Edinburgh Napier, there have also been challenges. For instance, I’m still often mistaken for a student (the trials of being post-doc at age 28); while this can come in handy in the Starbucks queue, it is less enjoyable when you are about to teach a class. Similarly, I have had to adapt to teaching cohorts of students (namely postgraduates) that are not only older than me, but also with vast swathes of industry experience. This is a daunting task for a new academic and one that, perhaps, we don’t consider enough as early-career researchers. An unexpected challenge that has occurred is shifting my academic identity from student to lecturer. It has, at times, been difficult to shake-off my student status, especially from those that taught me the first time around. While this has never led to any conflict or upset, transitioning between each of the professional identities within the same institution and subjectgroup has forced me to reflect on my change in attitude, demeanour and professionalism. As a fairly new lecturer I now need to solidify and adapt to my new professional identity beyond my PhD. Namely, I am hoping to develop a stronger understanding of Quality & Standards practices in addition to strengthening my position as an emerging researcher within the School.

Professional Identities in AcademiaProfessional Identities in Academia

Difference is a Beautiful Thing Black and Minority Ethnic Law Students Richard Whitecross Since 2013, the number of Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students entering the Edinburgh Napier LLB Programme has risen from 13.5% to 29% for the Year 1 intake 2018–19. In October 2018, as Year Tutor and PDT, I identified a key challenge to enhancing student engagement with this group of students. BAME students believe they face barriers to entering the legal profession and, by extension, students’ say that this in turn impacts their legal studies and engagement. Whilst the 2018 NSS for Law was positive, in relation to Question 21 “I feel part of a community of staff and students”, the score was only 74%. Although this may suggest the need for a wider focus to engage LLB students, with the increasing numbers of BAME LLB students, a project, working directly with BAME students to understand their perceptions of barriers to legal careers and its impact on their engagement was felt to be more appropriate to ensure an inclusive learning environment. “The first event for us”: Students speak up and speak out Working with three Year 4 BAME Law students, we devised a series of workshops. The first focussed on why they chose to study law and their perceptions of the legal profession as a BAME student. Reflecting the wider interest, and the fact that this was the first such event in a law school, the first workshop was attended by the Head of Education, Law Society of Scotland. Fourteen BAME Law students attended the first workshop. Working in two discussion groups, they considered two broad themes: Choosing the Law and Perceptions of the Legal Profession. A simple guide of points to consider was circulated to prompt discussion. Each group was asked to highlight issues and suggest solutions under each of the two themes. What emerged from both groups was that none of the students had any family connection with the legal profession. Indeed, about half were told that they would not be able to study law when they were at school. Parental support to do well, to do “better” than their peers was cited by a number of tfj Spring 2019

Stephanie, Myeda, Samantha and Imran

students. Among a majority of the students there was a sense that they were expected to fit in and that their own cultural heritage was unimportant. This was flagged up as a barrier to engaging with lecturers and with other non-BAME students. This was particularly relevant when events in the family occurred and students did not feel that they were able to raise them either with peers or staff. This sense of separateness and a “blindness” to the range of cultures within the law cohorts was summed up by one male student who observed, “the fact we have different views and beliefs isn’t a bad thing, it is a beautiful thing”. Another student observed that we have a range of ethnic minorities in Law who do not fit under BAME, but experience similar challenges, for example our Polish and Romanian students. Finally, the apparent low visibility of BAME lawyers at law firms suggests to BAME Law students that the default position is to pick the “white candidates” whilst BAME candidates have to always outperform. These themes were explored in two smaller one-hour workshops. Following on from the workshops, and working with the students, we are now developing an event supported by the Law Society of Scotland and the Scottish Ethnic Minority Lawyers Association. As a lecturer and as a group, this has been an invaluable lesson and one that we hope will encourage others to think about our BAME students. 5

Professional Identities in Academia

Reflections of a Faculty Community Facilitator Gráinne Barkess and Anne Tierney Anne Tierney, Department of Learning and Teaching Enhancement I first came across Faculty Learning Communities (FLC) (Cox, 2004) in 2006, when I applied to be part of the University of Glasgow’s University Teacher FLC (Bell et al., 2006; MacKenzie et al., 2010). It was a transformative experience for me and my colleagues who took part, and it was always an ambition to start one myself. The opportunity finally presented itself in 2018, when I applied for a Teaching Fellows grant with Gráinne Barkess to run a FLC for academics up to five years post Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) in Sighthill campus. Having benefitted from the experience myself, I wanted to give that same opportunity to colleagues here at Edinburgh Napier. That opportunity is the ability to connect with one another in the institution, to connect with other teachers in higher education in other universities, and to increase confidence in ourselves as educators. The early career FLC is coming to an end, and I am starting another one with mid-career academics in the School of Applied Sciences. The Miami Model of Faculty Learning Communities (Cox, 2004) is that they last for one calendar year, are composed of a group of staff who enquire into a particular “problem” in teaching and learning. The proposed theme of the early career FLC was “Supporting one another in the university”, while the theme of the mid-career FLC is “Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Enquiry and Pedagogic Research”. Gráinne Barkess, Research and Innovation Office Conversations with Anne had convinced me of the power of a Faculty Learning Community from a participant’s perspective, and when Anne suggested setting one up I was on board. Working with early career academics and researchers I know how challenging that first stage can be, and I was really interested to see how an FLC could support people with transitions into an institution. Often universities provide support in an ad-hoc way to colleagues, but the FLC model creates a long term supportive community. I’m hoping we will see a number of them


emerge across the university, and I’ll be looking at ways the model could rolled out for Early Career Researchers. Early Career Faculty Learning Community The idea for an Early Career FLC came from the literature and from experience. New staff complete a PgCert which supports them in the early days of their teaching and learning practice, but there’s a drop in formal support once the certificate is over. Early career academics are one of the main groups supported by FLCs (Cox, 2013), so it made sense to try this out with a group of academics, based in Sighthill, who had completed their PgCert long enough ago to benefit from a refresher. We recruited from the pool of staff who had completed their PgCert in the previous five years, firstly by email, and then by contacting staff individually. We also widened the scope of the pool by including studentfacing professional service staff (some of whom had also completed their PgCert). This mix of individuals became a strength of the FLC. We followed an adapted version of Cox’s FLC (Cox, 2004), setting it up with an initial away day at Edinburgh Zoo. The purpose of this was to take everyone away from the distractions of day-to-day work, and let them concentrate on planning for the year ahead. We worked on the ground rules of the group and discussed early topics for discussion. As the FLC progressed we realised that “support” meant just that – supporting one another in practical ways, like suggesting ways to use Moodle to support student learning, or organising a revision workshop for students as they approached their exams. Much of the value of the FLC was the work that the group members did outside of the meetings – contacting one another for advice and help, or working on a project together. A big part of the FLC was introducing the group to scholarship, and so early on we aimed to have tangible outputs from the project. To date we have contributed to a number of teaching and learning meetings, we have co-authored one paper outlining the start of the FLC and are gathering data to evaluate the impact of the FLC, which will be

Professional Identities in Academia turned into a second co-authored paper. We also have had two abstracts accepted for an international conference in Germany in July, and will be presenting the facilitator and participant experience. We have also extended our networks, to include a sister FLC taking place at the University of Glasgow, and we’re helping to organise ESLTIS 2019, which will take place here at Edinburgh Napier University on 18–19 July. Mid-career Faculty Learning Community The second FLC, which has just started, is to support mid-career staff in the School of Applied Sciences who want to develop their expertise in pedagogic research and publish in that area. Mid-career academics are another documented group which benefits from the support of an FLC (Blaisdell & Cox, 2004), and this is more aligned to our experience of being members of an FLC. In contrast to the early career FLC, which focused on practical ways to support one another, the mid-career FLC has more focus on exploring literature, in addition to practical support. The timing for the start of the FLC was fortuitous, as it coincided with a call for applications to the Teaching Fellows’ Fund, and we were successful in securing funds to look at Attendance and Student Engagement. As with the Early Career FLC, one of the things we wanted to do was extend the networks of participants outside of the institution, and so have introduced participants to members of the University of Glasgow FLC, the facilitator of

the upcoming FLCs at Dundee University and other academics in our networks. For all the participants in the FLCs, we hope that the biggest thing that they get from it is camaraderie and a growing confidence in themselves as scholarly teachers and practitioners of SoTL, in higher education. That is certainly our experience (Bell et al., 2006; MacKenzie et al., 2010), and one we want to share with our colleagues. References Bell, S., Bohan, J., Brown, A., Burke, J., Cogdell, B., Jamieson, S., and Tierney, A. (2006). University of Glasgow University Teachers’ Learning Community. Practice and Evidence of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 1(1), 3–12. Blaisdell, M. L., and Cox, M. D. (2004). Midcareer and senior faculty learning communities: Learning throughout faculty careers. New Directions for Teaching & Learning, (97), 137–148. Cox, M. D. (2004). Introduction to Faculty Learning Communities. New Directions for Teaching & Learning, 97(Spring), 5–23. Cox, M. D. (2013). The impact of communities of practice in support of early-career academics. International Journal for Academic Development, 18(1), 18–30. MacKenzie, J., Bell, S., Bohan, J., Brown, A., Burke, J., Cogdell, B., and Tierney, A. (2010). From anxiety to empowerment: a Learning Community of University Teachers. Teaching in Higher Education, 15(3), 273–284.

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Professional Identities in Academia

Reflections from the Field An Italian Spanish Language Student on a Study-abroad Programme in Alicante Martina Birotti and Mabel Victoria Mabel: Language students on a study-abroad programme often navigate between different identities – ‘cultural mediators’, ‘border-crossers’, ‘negotiators of meaning’, ‘intercultural speakers’ and ‘ethnographers’ (Roberts et al 2001). When Martina took the module Exploring Culture, she became fascinated with autoethnography. Before she left for Alicante for her year abroad, she expressed an interest in starting a research journal in order to record her lived experiences and impressions. Here, below, she undertakes an inward-journey using her journal as a catalyst towards greater self-understanding. Martina: As a Language and Intercultural Communication student on Erasmus, I saw the year abroad experience not only as chance to improve my linguistic skills, but also as an opportunity to reflect on how I would react and adapt to a sudden change of environment. So, I decided to keep a journal to help me reflect on my experience allowing me to analyse what was happening and the reasons behind certain behaviours. In my studies, I learnt ‘theoretically’ that cultural identity is complex, plural and nuanced, but this research has allowed me to experience this truth first-hand. I found myself belonging to different groups, different “cultures”. I have noticed that exchange students generally, come together more easily and naturally. I associated this with the fact that, regardless of where we come from, we are all “foreigners” and share roughly the same experience. For this reason, classes made up entirely of Erasmus students, were completely different from the ordinary classes “this [class made of/for Erasmus exchange students] is the only class where everyone knows everyone, and we all talk to each other. We are all part of the same group and we would also meet outside the class context. We are all nice, helpful and inclusive with each other”. Furthermore, I realised how I subconsciously adapted and adopted certain ways that were not initially part of my own cultural identity, but rather behaviours that I learned when I moved to the UK from Italy.


Martina standing in front of Castillo de Stanta Bárbara, Alicante

For instance, when I first arrived in the UK, I noticed the usual practice of leaving an empty chair between you and the person you’re sitting next to during big lectures. I always found this quite odd, but being in Alicante I realised how I unconsciously adapted to this “norm”. When I found myself in the same situation, I automatically behaved according to the “unwritten” rule. I was surprised by the different reaction in a different context. “I don’t know why but on my first day I sat in a row with two other girls and I just subconsciously left a seat between me and the girl on my right, she smiled at me and just said “you can sit here if you want”, I felt so silly in that moment, because I started doing what I saw people in the UK do, although I myself, once thought it was weird”. All these moments together are allowing me to live this experience at its fullest, diving not only in to the language but in the different behaviours, as well as making me reflect on my own cultural identity. Mabel: Corresponding with Martina and reading excerpts from her research journal has enabled me to enrich my own identity repertoire—‘learner’, ‘kindred spirit,’ ‘cotraveller’, ‘tutor’ and ‘writer.’ Reference Roberts, C., Byram, M., Barro, A., Jordan, S., & Street, B. (2001). Language learners as ethnographers. Clevedon UK: Multilingual Matters.

Professional Identities in Academia

Different Methods of Inquiry Bringing Different Contributions to Action-researching of Online Sense of Belonging John Cowan A plethora of publications deal with sense of belonging (SoB) for face-to-face learners. They report a powerful correlation between these learners’ SoB and their higher achievements and lower drop-out rates. There is less literature dealing with online learners’ SoB. These writers appear to assume similar outcomes for online students as for traditional ones, without supportive hard data derived from students. I associate with five action-researching colleagues who doubt that assumption of transferability of findings. An influential factor in initiating SoB in campus-based courses is the forming of valued cross-disciplinary relationships when students are settling in to residences. Online students seldom make friendships in that way. Campus-based relationships fostering SoB are established and developed during adjournments to coffee-bars when a class closes. Online students lack this opportunity to debrief with supportive classmates. So, do our online students feel and value a sense of belonging to course, class group or institution? Informal messaging online and feedback questionnaire responses reassured us that our students felt and valued a sense of belonging – but told us little more. We wanted to know if and how SoB affected online learning experiences. We framed and posed openended questions yielding just that information in anonymised responses that were rich in going beyond our questions. In particular, we learned the strong contribution to online SoB of interactions in Facebook groups in which tutors did not engage; and we found no identification of significant critical incidents, but rather of steadily ongoing interactivity. The responses raised new queries for us. Volunteers were anonymously interviewed, seeking expansion of the questionnaire findings. They provided insights that amplified the impact on SoB of accounts of difficulties and struggles shared with peers. The interviewer found additional meaning through variations in tone, pace and stress in the spoken word, which did not feature in the transcripts provided to the action-researching tutors. tfj Spring 2019

The detailed findings to date are en route to a conference presentation. Given the usual attrition of respondents through the inquiry process, we are naturally concerned about the representativeness of our findings. In a further investigation comparing students experiences in an Italian and a Scottish university, we will post summaries of findings, and invite course members to indicate agreement/ disagreement on a Likert scale, with the option to add comments. SoB for online students is clearly unlike the campusbased experience, and merits further study. In that action-research, we shall continue to integrate our varied methods of inquiry, since they usefully generate different outcomes for us. Informal contact and feedback questionnaire reassuringly report bland general approval, which justifies further contact. Open-ended questionnaires then provide width and depth of detailed information, and prompt further and more detailed inquiries. Focused interviews reveal the strength of feeling associated with some experiences of online SoB; they also provide detail of its nature, impact and perceived value. Whole-class consideration of summarised findings will demand slight effort to respond, and enable any inadequate representation to be addressed. 9

Professional Identities in Academia

“Who Are You In This?” Analysing Professional Identities Connie Mcluckie If you were to ask me the question “Connie, what is your PhD research about?” the chances are that my response would very much depend on who you are. It might be a great convoluted tale of toil and struggle if you are a fellow PhD student. It might be a garbled two-minute précis concluding with my potential ‘outputs’ if you are my line manager. Or (picture the scene) it might be a look of abject terror if you are my external examiner. Either way my ‘identities’ as a researcher will surface through the things that I say and the things that I do in relation to you, in the here-and-now of our conversation. Bucholtz and Hall (2005, p.585) theorise this understanding of ‘identity’ as being within a ‘sociocultural linguistic paradigm’ and define it as ‘the social positioning of the self and other’. Framed as this, identities are a sort of moveable feast (a bit like YO! Sushi). My study is concerned with the construction and performance of student midwives’ identities and the discourses within which this takes place. If I ‘speeddate’ my methodologies this gives four key words for consideration: construction, performance, identities and discourses. I have used bullet points to explicate these because that’s perhaps what narration in speed-dating is like (ergo read it fast). ●● Construction uses ‘small stories and positioning analysis’ proposed by Bamberg and Georgakopolou (2008, p.3) and is conceptualised as ‘how people use stories in everyday, mundane situations in order to create (and perpetuate) a sense of who they are’. Analysis orientates through three levels from locally constructed contexts of self to wider socio-cultural perspectives and asks: ‘who are the characters in the story?’; ‘why is it told this way and why now?’; and, ‘who am I in all this?’. ●● P erformance uses visual analysis and ‘micro-dramas’ proposed by Mcluckie (2019, forthcoming). By considering the ways in which gesture is implicated in the enactment of


identities, visual data enables me to investigate how identity is produced in conjunction with the material objects which constitute practice. ●● Identities are theorised as per Bucholtz and Hall (2005) above, but in a much bigger, yearsof-my-life kind of way in my thesis. It is also important to note that transcription processes are methodologically significant in sociocultural linguistic analysis and identity, and ‘transcribed verbatim’ just won’t do. ●● Discourses – if we were actually speed-dating this is the point at which you might look at the clock. I flirted with Michel Foucault etc, but I ended up with Norman Fairclough. He is very reliable. I therefore have a big piece of discourse analysis which explores the ways in which midwifery policy shapes midwives’ identities and creates ‘subject positions’ for them to occupy. All of it comes together in the ‘identities’ made available through the discourses of policy and practice that the students ‘take-up’ or ‘resist’ in their small stories. Or so the story goes…. As with all tales, this telling of my research is a representation and interpretation of events as I have experienced them. My supervisors would no doubt have a different narrative and it would possibly involve questions such as: ‘why this way?’, ‘are you serious?’ and perhaps even just ‘?’. References Bamberg, M. and Georgakopoulou, A. (2008) Small stories as a new perspective in narrative and identity analysis. Text & Talk-an Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse Communication Studies, 28 (3), pp. 377-396. Bucholtz, M. and Hall, K. (2005) Identity and interaction: A sociocultural linguistic approach. Discourse Studies, 7 (4-5), pp. 585-614. Mcluckie, C. (2019). Powers, Passages and Passengers: The construction and performance of student midwives’ professional identities. PhD manuscript in preparation, Faculty of Social Sciences. University of Stirling, Scotland.



1. How long have you been a Teaching Fellow? I gained Fellowship of HEA through ENroute in 2014, and opted to be a Teaching Fellow soon after. 2. What attracted you to become a Teaching Fellow? When I had been preparing for our last Enhancement-led Insitutional Review (ELIR) in 2014/15, I found it so helpful to be able to draw upon the knowledge, expertise and inspiring practice demonstrated by the Teaching Fellow community. Who would not want to be part of that? Although I do not teach myself, I felt very welcome at the Teaching Fellow events and was made to feel that my own specialist knowledge and expertise was valued by the community. 3. What activities have you been involved in as a Teaching Fellow? The conference is always a ‘must’ for me as it is a great opportunity to find out about the great work going on in the university – which is so important for me to be able to do my job effectively. I try to make an active contribution when I can, including attending Teaching Fellow meetings and contributing to this journal. 4. What would your TF superpower be (if you don’t have one already)? I see Quality Assurance as a kind of protective force-field within which really exciting, creative and innovative teaching practice can be enacted in a safe-space.

tfj Spring 2019

10 Questions

with Katrina Swanton Head of Quality & Enhancement Department of Learning and Teaching Enhancement 5. What research or projects are you involved in at the moment? I am leading the university’s preparations for its next ELIR. It is taking place this December and it is certainly keeping me very busy. 6. What collaborations would you like to make in the future? I am always keen to learn from others, within and beyond the university. 7. If you could be somewhere else, where in the world would you like to be now? Somewhere warm and sunny. Ideally, I would be lying down under a shady tree listening to birds chirruping away - bliss! 8. What is your favourite word? It’s probably a rude one. 9. Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? Oh no, dinner parties are too stressful. A relaxed picnic in the park with good friends would be just perfect. 10. What do you consider your greatest achievement so far (in work or life)? Cliché I know, but I have two children... and they are quite cool.


Book Review

The Alienated Academic: The Struggle for Autonomy Inside the University Review by Louise Drumm If this was a tabloid publication, the glib headline for this review might read ‘Professor calls for abolition of universities’. While that may be the end point of Hall’s argument, the route to this conclusion is a tour de force in scholarship and criticality. Starting from a personal story about his own mental health, Hall draws on Marx’s early work on alienated labour to understand contemporary academic work. He is refreshingly candid about the limitations of his perspective and the need for the conversation to extend beyond the book where other, intersectional and minority voices, can contribute. Part I and II frame academic work as labour, where universities extract value from academics, while also expecting them to embody fractured identities. The list of stressors is depressingly familiar: marketisation of higher education; precarious careers; quantification of impact and excellence; metricisation of teaching through student satisfaction, learning gain and employability; technology as a means of control; hours and place of work extending into personal time and space; decreased contact with students; overwork and anxiety. Hall views these as symptoms of the infection of commodified academic labour. Academic work is thus a valueexchange between the individual and the university, where the academic is dehumanised through constant extraction of value from every aspect of their work. Furthermore, the perpetuation of the myth of academic work as ‘a labour of love’ creates a cognitive dissonance in the individual, resulting in alienation from themselves. For those of us who have felt impostor syndrome or held the suspicion that our academic work is driven by forces at odds with our beliefs about higher education, it may be reassuring that the blame lies not with ourselves, but the system. However, any relief is shortlived as Hall relentlessly dissects the scale of capitalist control over academic knowledge and the impact on individuals’ sense of self. Weltschmerz, or abject hopelessness, as experienced by alienated academics is itself a controlling instrument. The third part proposes both grand and small strategies for overcoming this alienation. Hall identifies indignation as a catalytic force to reclaim dignity. Interestingly, one proposal is solidarity with students, both in terms of activism and co-production of the curriculum, as acts of transgression. While big actions, such as mass strikes


Hall, R., & SpringerLink. (2018). The Alienated Academic: The Struggle for Autonomy Inside the University (Marxism and Education). Cham: Springer International Publishing: Imprint: Palgrave Macmillan.

may feel out of reach, the next time you stop yourself from checking your emails after 5pm, you could remind yourself of Lorde’s (1988) statement, cited by Hall, “that self-care is self-preservation, and therefore an act of political warfare” (p.229). This book is a challenging read, not just for its purist ideology and terminology, but also because it confronts the reader with something of an existential crisis: if you find yourself wanting to reject the central premise, this is proof of your own alienation, as visited on you through the capitalisation of academia. Awakening the academic consciousness is the intention here and the argument that academic work tends to exist within an uncritical sphere is an uncomfortable truth. It is an impressive work, which deserves careful consideration on a personal, institutional, and societal level. Indeed, Hall argues that the solution lies outwith the university, with the dissolution of artificial boundaries between academia and society, and the embedding of intellectual activity within society; hence the dismantling and abolition of the university. In these times, it is difficult to oppose any argument that recommends the recentring of intellectual debate within society at large. It is likely that this book will become a seminal work in this area and will spark debates which will help all of us to express, understand, and perhaps exert agency over our academic work. Reference Lorde, Audre. 1988. A Burst of Light and Other Essays. Mineola: Dover Books. Louise Drumm has just recently joined the Department of Learning and Teaching Enhancement team as Lecturer

Conference Report

International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation (ICERI2018) Seville, Spain, November 2018 Stevie Robertson With over 700 participant from 75 countries, ICERI is the largest conference of its kind in the world. What this means really only becomes clear as you unfold the printed session guide to find that there are 36 sessions on Day 1 (4-5 papers per session) and 45 sessions on Day 2. The papers presented cover educational research from pre-school to postdoc, from use of technology through embedding business competencies in each stage of curriculum, to Valerie Nezemoff’s session on increasing productivity through learning dance. The two plenary speakers, Emily Pilloton then Graham Brown-Martin, were superb. Both looked at re-imagining the education system so that it is relevant in the future but from two very different perspectives. Emily left an architectural practice on the West Coast of the US to help kids in a North Carolina school design and build a farmers’ market in their community. She suggests that “you can’t build cooler spaces and expect students to be creative” – we need to set students real tasks. Graham explored education in the 4th Industrial Revolution. What does automation and big data mean for us? He warned of the “uberfication of education” where skilled teachers are replaced by someone simply reading a pre-prepared script. He argued that much of what passes for new technology in education is simply the introduction of an electronic version of the old system. Education must respond to the

challenge that the “jobs of the future are the ones the machines can’t do”. By the end of the first few hours I had a lot to reflect on but little time to stop. My own paper “Decluttering the Conversation” explores using team engagement apps with students rather than using already congested social media channels. It was the first session of the day so I had put my musing to one side and, for the first time, chair a session. Managing my own time was a challenge but I stayed on track and was pleased to get good feedback as both chair and speaker, which was encouraging. For me, conferences are about new ideas and connections made. I was able to connect with others exploring the impact of lecture capture in terms of engagement and attainment (England), the challenges of group assessment when most students have parttime jobs and/or travel to university (Ireland) and the use of photographs to aid reflection as new teachers develop their sense of identity (Finland). These are just a few examples of ideas shared, problems discussed or new ideas that spark the imagination. By the end of two days my head was full and I had 23 pages of notes to process! It’s an intense few days partly because of the number of sessions and the range of topics but also because you stay in the conference centre. That said, despite the conference taking place during term time, my plan is to get back to Seville in November again.

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News and Events

Volunteering in Pathein: Part 3 Kate Durkacz, Andy Garcia, Mat Lucky and Andrea Salvador In January, Kate and three SEBE engineering peer tutors volunteered for two weeks in Pathein, Myanmar via the charity Ahtutu, supported by School funding. As before, we were supporting young adults with their English – particularly spoken and oral comprehension. This is the third time that SEBE has been involved in the project and the second time that the engineering peer tutors have been involved. We taught English in three streamed groups, each with a teacher and a peer tutor, in a fairly formal way every morning. Grammar was explained using pre-prepared lessons and, we also ran activities that challenged their skills. Kate and Mat were teaching the most fluent group and quickly realised that we had to improvise to give the students more of a challenge. We devised some games which focused on speaking without preparation, read book excerpts with them, explained new vocabulary, asked comprehension questions, and asked them to prepare questions for the rest of the group. Andrea worked with the middle level group. The students wanted to practice their speaking and writing skills as well as their grammar. For that reason, they read books and analysed the grammatical structures in the text and also played a variety of games giving them the opportunity to speak about themselves and various other topics. Andy was working with the least fluent student group, and quickly found out that they did not lack knowledge but self-confidence in their English skills. Thus, lessons were tailored to the student’s needs, stepping up the pace to cover more material than planned and organising interactive activities in order to make them speak in public, using card games and even cooking peppermint creams! Overall, there was a huge focus on speaking with the students, and they gained confidence and really improved their spoken English and pronunciation. We were pleasantly surprised with their good response and fast learning, along with their always joyful attitude. This time, the afternoon project was developed and run by Kate and the peer tutors. We decided that it would be useful for the students to have experience of writing and delivering presentations, and we chose the general topic of Myanmar culture. The first day, we delivered a presentation about Edinburgh’s Royal


SEBE Engineering Peer Tutor Volunteers

Mile, asking the students to mark us, as we would do with them. The next day we showed them our brainstorming sheet and we explained why we used mindmaps to clarify our ideas and decide on our plan for the presentation. The students worked in mixed ability groups and spent three afternoons producing their own brainstorming sheet and slide plan, which they presented and were given feedback on. We helped with structure, English, using PowerPoint and gave hints or directed them if they were going in the wrong direction, but we wanted them to work, discuss, think, and come up with ideas, which is what they did. During the second week the groups used computers to prepare their presentations and wrote down what they would say, so we could check the grammar and structure of the sentences. We encouraged them to rehearse, so that we could help with pronunciation and they could increase their confidence and clarity in spoken English. At the end of the second week each group presented their topic, and every member of the group spoke. The presentations were marked by the teachers and peer tutors and the winning group received prizes. The Edinburgh Napier team also ran two wellattended evening maths clubs, where we solved maths riddles and logic problems and gave out maths stickers and Edinburgh rock. In our free time we went to the Karen festival, watched parasols being made and painted, visited the famous Schwedagon pagoda and returned to the small village which is supported by both the Ahtutu charity and KMSS, the local Pathein social centre. We are all proud to be supporting this project because it actually helps people, by giving them new skills

News and Events and improving existing ones, so that they are able to help themselves and others. Some of the students are teachers, students at university, trainee priests and nuns, and others work for social centres and cooperate with international charities. Having good English makes everything a bit easier and opens up possibilities of working or travelling abroad. This project only runs for two weeks, but it is intense, and the students learn a lot during that time and appreciate this opportunity very much. The sense of community in Pathein is unimaginable. Myanmar is still a developing country which opened its boarders only a few years ago and this is an important time for them to learn and be able to absorb, understand, appreciate and respect other cultures and be able to communicate, think for themselves and think critically. It is also an amazing opportunity for Edinburgh Napier students to experience the culture, but also give something back. More importantly, it is a very interesting life lesson for us; opening our eyes and our minds and giving us the opportunity to know and understand a completely

Mat and Andy with graduating students

different culture. The life we live might be great, but it is overly complicated and we should be grateful for everything we have because some are not so fortunate, but they live a much richer life. The people that we met and worked with in and around Pathein are amazingly humble, kind and grateful. Ahtutu has just been awarded charity status which is very exciting news. We are all hoping that we can continue to contribute and help to support teaching English in Pathein.

MathsPlus is 30! Kate Durkacz In October 1988, Ann Evans started the maths drop-in clinic MathsPlus, with the aim of supporting engineering students who were struggling with their maths modules. Initially, the clinic was run in a classroom two afternoons per week, and it quickly became popular with a wide range of students from across the university. Extra sessions were run to help nurses with drug calculations, and an evening session was added for first-year engineers. Early on, permission was given to run MathsPlus in Merchiston library, which was a much better environment for studying and also made MathsPlus more visible.

Kate (current MathsPlus lead) with Ann (MathsPlus founder)

Edinburgh Napier University was one of the first, if not the first, university to provide maths support, and was years ahead of its time. MathsPlus has been running successfully ever since – and on Wednesday 31 October 2018, we celebrated 30 years of maths support at Edinburgh Napier by having a party in Merchiston library. Ann Evans was there along with some of the retired maths lecturers, library and IT staff, current maths and engineering staff, current students from SEBE and SoC and also recent graduates. MathsPlus is an Edinburgh Napier institution and we hope it will run for another 30 years!

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Diary Dates

Pedagogy Before Technology? Connections between theory and practice when teaching with digital technologies Tuesday 30 April 2019, Room 2.D.05 Sighthill Dr Louise Drumm is delivering her first DLTE seminar presenting her doctoral research project which addressed the undertheorised nature of learning technologies, and the underrepresented every day experience of educators in universities. Moving Beyond Teaching Excellence Collaboration Through Dialogue Tuesday 14 May 2019, Room 2/06 Craiglockhart In this DLTE seminar, Dr Phil Wood (Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln) suggests that we reassess the complexity of teaching and learning and start to embade such a debate in a more dialogic approach to teaching development. Chartered Association of Business Schools Learning, Teaching & Student Experience 14–15 May 2019, Manchester This conference is the UK’s leading gathering of business and management educators, and showcases innovate teaching practice and cutting edge pedagogic research.


International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSoTL) EuroSoTL: Exploring New Fields through the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 13–14 June 2019, Bilbao The EuroSoTL 2019 conference is a meeting point to share experiences to help to improve the learningteaching processes and advance in professional development. • How can we ensure that the learning of our students is deep and meaningful? • In which direction must our professional development go? • How can we integrate social responsibility and sustainability in teaching? • Can you and your teaching experience contribute to improving teaching? Edinburgh Napier’s Annual Learning and Teaching Conference 20 June 2019, Craiglockhart This community event offers all staff who teach or support learning the opportunity to contribute, to share, to network and to have some fun. There are three themes: Adventures into Playful Learning, Universal Design for Learning, and Learning through Failure.

Diary Dates 7th International Assessment in Higher Education Conference

developers and all those involved in curriculum design and student support.

26–27 June 2019, Manchester

Active learning refers to a broad range of teaching strategies which engage students as active participants in their learning. Typically, these strategies involve some amount of groupwork, but may also involve individual work and/or reflection.

AHE’s conference themes include assessment for learning and the meaning and role of authentic assessment, leading change in assessment and feedback at programme and institutional level, addressing challenges of assessment in mass higher education, integrating digital tools and technologies for assessment and developing academic integrity and academic literacies through assessment. Threshold Concepts in Action: Inaugural Scottish Threshold Concepts Conference 27 June 2019, Dundee AdvanceHE Teaching and Learning Conference Teaching in the Spotlight: Innovation for Teaching Excellence 2 – 4 July 2019, Newcastle-upon-Tyne AdvanceHE’s Annual Teaching and Learning Conference 2019 will position the spotlight firmly on teaching in a global context, in particular, the conference will explore innovation for teaching excellence focusing on innovative teaching practices and pedagogies and seeking to uncover new practice which demonstrates or contributes to teaching excellence and is improving the student experience. conferences/TLConf19 Enhancing Student Learning through Innovative Scholarship: Active Learning for All 18–19 July 2019, Edinburgh Napier University, Sighthill Campus In this fifth conference in the Enhancing Student Learning through Innovative Scholarship series, we focus on enhancing learning for all through active learning. We welcome presentations on this theme from university teachers and their students, academic

Submission deadline 14 May 2019 academicconference International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSoTL) SoTL Without Borders: Engaged Practices for Social Change 9–12 October 2019, Atlanta, Georgia The theme aims to examine global teaching practices in a meaningful way. At a time when we are witnessing a current of anti-intellectualism in the United States and around the world, more than ever we need to articulate the powerful role SoTL can play. If the lack of education is the problem, thoughtful conversations about SoTL are undoubtedly part of the solution. SEDA Autumn Conference 2019 New frontiers in educational and curriculum development 14–15 November 2019, Leeds The extent and pace of change in higher education (including of course the significant amount of higher education which takes place in further education) has increased dramatically over the last few years and there is no sign of this slowing down. Within this general theme, we welcome proposals from HE and FE which analyse/demonstrate/explain the most likely ‘new frontiers’ which will shape our future over the next decade. Submission deadline 20 May 2019

To submit diary dates for the Autumn edition of the Teaching Fellows Journal, contact either Kate Durkacz or Joan McLatchie

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Make contact with a Teaching Fellow in your community If you are a Teaching Fellow and missing from this list, or would like to become a Teaching Fellow, please contact the Teaching Fellows Administrator, Ruth Doak,, x6360. School of Arts & Creative Industries

Jay Mackinnon

Piotr Jaworski

Ruth Cochrane

Errol Rivera

Anna Leask

Richard Firth

Kiril Sharapov

Kirsten Marshall

Kirsten MacLeod

David Smith

James McDougall

Myrna MacLeod

Bill Surradge

Joan McLatchie

Haftor Medboe

Clare Taylor

Lesley McLean

Andrew O’Dowd

Kathy Velander

Renata Osowska

Stijn Postema

Tony Westbury

Christine Penman

Alistair Scott Bryden Stillie Rachel Younger

School of Health & Social Care Liz Adamson Janyne Afseth

School of Computing

Fiona Bastow

Jyoti Bhardwaj

Norrie Brown

Peter Cruickshank

Isabel Dosser

Petra Leimich

Mark Freeman-Ferguson

Debbie Meharg

Jane Hislop

Sally Smith

Fiona-Jean Howson

Alison Varey

Kirstin James

School of Engineering & the Built Environment Mark Deakin Kate Durkacz Keng Goh Naren Gupta Kenneth Leitch Richard Llewellyn Marina Miranda Manzanares Aikaterini Marinelli Robert Mason Chrysoula Pantsi Mike Thomson School of Applied Sciences Samantha Campbell Casey Charlotte Chalmers George Chambers Sophie Foley Hollie Fountain Christine Haddow Bridget Hanna Mark Huxham Claire Garden Peter Laird Janis MacCallum


Richard Kyle Catherine Mahoney Nessa McHugh Wendy McInally

David Potter Sibylle Ratz Stevie Robertson Stefania Romano Sarah Sholl Clidna Soraghan Eleni Theodoraki Louise Todd Ellis Urquhart Mabel Victoria Lynn Waterston Richard Whitecross Brian Windram Yan Zhuang

Connie McLuckie

Disability & Inclusion

Barbara Neades

Esther Shreeve

Gail Norris Paddy Perry Lindsey Robb Sandra Sharp Simon Sikora Diane Willis Alison Wood The Business School Rosemary Allford Maggie Anderson Sylvain Blanche Jacqueline Brodie Simon Chiu

Department of Learning & Teaching Enhancement Julia Fotheringham Kay Sambell Fiona Smart Katrina Swanton Anne Tierney Louise McCarte Information Services Keith Walker Research & Innovation Office GrĂĄinne Barkess

John Cowan

Dawn Smith

Tony Douglas

Widening Participation & Community

Alessandro Feri Partick Harte Ahmed Hassanien David Jarman

Sandra Cairncross Claire Coleman Linda Gunn

Teaching Fellows Journal Editorial Team Your TFJ Editorial Board: Jackie Brodie Business School t: (0131) 455 4470 e: Bridget Hanna School of Applied Sciences t: (0131) 455 2661 e: Ahmed Hassanien Business School t: (0131) 455 4402 e: Paddy Perry School of Health & Social Care t: (0131) 455 5651 e: Your TFJ Journal Manager: Sarah Murray Publications Officer t: (0131) 455 6122 e: Your TF Administrator: Ruth Doak Teaching Fellows Administrator t: (0131) 455 6360 e:

Edinburgh Napier University Department of Learning and Teaching Enhancement Room 7.B.37 Sighthill Campus Sighthill Court Edinburgh EH11 4BN email: web: Read the current and back issues online:

For TFJ Diary Dates: Kate Durkacz School of Engineering & the Built Environment t: (0131) 455 2349 e: Joan McLatchie Business School t: (0131) 455 4341 e:

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Edinburgh Napier’s Annual Learning and Teaching Conference is for every member for staff in the University who teaches or supports learning. This year’s conference covers the following themes. Adventures into Playful Learning An approach where students and teachers are given time to learn and think together. It is a space where imagination, innovation and creativity foster deeper thinking and more reflective learners. Universal Design for Learning Informs the design of teaching and learning goals, assessment, methods and materials that can be customised and adjusted to meet individual needs. Learning through Failure We understand the power of mistakes/failures in our everyday academic practice. We also recognise and value their potential from a pedagogic perspective because they can trigger learning and development. But we don’t always share our mistakes or failures, and so their impact can be minimised.

Edinburgh Napier University is a registered Scottish charity. Reg. No. SC018373

Profile for Teaching Fellowship at Edinburgh Napier University

Spring 2019 Teaching Fellows Journal  

Edinburgh Napier University's Teaching Fellows Journal - Spring 2019

Spring 2019 Teaching Fellows Journal  

Edinburgh Napier University's Teaching Fellows Journal - Spring 2019