The start of something good!

Luisa WakelingI attended the first Enhancing Student Learning through Innovative Scholarship Conference which took place in Durham on July 16-17th for teaching-focused academics. The conference had 2 main focuses based on innovation in teaching and the role and progression of the teaching-focused academic; both topics extremely key to me at this point in my career. I and the other 120 delegates were presented with an array of innovative methods used in teaching across universities of the UK. ‘Students as Partners’ was a key theme; we heard from academics who had involved students in the whole development of their own sciences skills course, digital video production by students to enhance educational engagement, design and implementation of the visually exciting ‘Soton Brain hub’ in a collaboration between students and teaching fellows in Medicine and the utilisation of near-peer teaching.

I also entered a world of academic politics around what it means to be a teaching fellow especially in a research intensive university and although examples of discrimination towards the role were highlighted there was equal positivity with great examples of success. One such success was the latest appointment to Professor of fellow David Read at the University of Southampton. I was particularly impressed with his work on methods of self-assessment for the chemistry student. A truly enthusiastic teacher, his published work was very engaging and motivating to me. David will be presenting some of his work to us as part of the FUERDP seminar series.

With the ‘TEF’ on the horizon there was an element of anxiousness and uncertainty but also that of comforting positivity and excitement in a community of people who really did care about teaching and were improving the learning experience. As I had belonged once as a postdoc in the research circuits beyond the university, I now felt that relationship again with another community of practice. These are exciting times to be a teacher in HE and I encourage you to get involved. #ESLIS15.

The Enhancing Student Learning through Innovative Scholarship Conference, 2016 will take place at the University of Southampton and will come to Newcastle in 2017. The website address for the conference is

Dr Luisa Wakeling, School of Dental Sciences


Leave a Reply