Director’s update: Spring 2017

steve (2)Welcome to this, the Spring Edition of the FMS ERDP Newsletter.

In this edition you will read about some of the work that has been undertaken with the support of funding from the ERDP grant scheme.  I am pleased that the Committee have been able to fund such a wide range of activity including a Study Visit to Harvard, a workshop for anatomy educators, a study on resilience in students and a trial of Voice Thread; studies that are supporting curriculum development, development of our staff and work with our students.  We have two further deadlines for applications for funding in April and June and I look forward to receiving more applications that speak to the great range of educational activities that staff in the Faculty are undertaking.

Can I also remind you of our events programme?  Many of you have attended Journal Club, What I mean When I Say or Seminar events.  If you have not been before please can I encourage you to come along? They are informal and with plenty of opportunity for discussion provide opportunities to talk about teaching and share experiences away from the desk or teaching room.  If you have only managed to come to occasional events please come to more and find out what your colleagues are doing or are interested in.

In this newsletter Patrick Rosencrantz draws our attention to a resource for teachers in psychology.  This publication from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology is truly comprehensive and while there is a lot of content that is discipline-specific this e-book contains much that will be of interest to all teachers in HE.  It is a good example of how well-developed some of these discipline-based teaching networks are in the USA.  They exist for many disciplines, certainly two that I know of in anatomy as part of the American Association of Anatomists and the teaching networks for Engineers are extremely well-developed.  So, if you have not investigated whether your discipline has a well-developed teaching network in North America then I would urge you to find out as it would be a valuable means to find out what is going on in teaching in your area of interest and could also be a route to dissemination of your own work.

In June ERDP will be joining an event organized by Jarka Glassey in CEAM when Suzanne Kresta from Alberta and one of the editors of the Education for Chemical Engineers journal will be speaking on learning and teaching and we will be advertising that event shortly.  This an event whose interest will extend well-beyond chemical engineering because education is an activity that unites all who teach students in Newcastle and we can all learn something from the way subjects are taught in other disciplines.

Finally, many of you will be going to education conferences between now and when the next newsletter is due to appear.  If you would like to write a short piece on the highlights of the conference you attended we will be happy to receive it. Please send it through to

Prof Steve McHanwell, Director, FMS Unit for ERDP

Teaching Excellence Award nominations 2017


The TEAs are a chance for students to nominate members of staff who they think have been outstanding and helped improve their student experience here at Newcastle.

This year we have Faculty staff and PG students nominated in every category.  Congratulations to all that were nominated.  The results will be announced at the TEA ceremony on the 4th May.  Keep an eye on the TEA website to find out who gets shortlisted and the eventual winner.


Outstanding Contribution to Feedback

Dante Roel Fernandez ( NUMed)
Laura Delgaty ( SME)
Mary Cronin ( NUMed)
Melissa Walker ( SDS)
Tan Shihmay ( NUMed)
Yoav Tadmor ( PSY)

Outstanding Contribution to Innovation

Colin Brown ( ICaMB)
Eleanor Holmes ( SME)
Ellen Tullo ( BMS)
Kenneth McKeegan ( NUMed)

Outstanding Contribution to Pastoral Support

Amy Fielden ( PSY)
Dr Luisa Wakeling ( SDS)
Faye Horsley ( PSY)
Joanna Matthan ( SME)
Julie Fitzgerald ( SDS)
Kate Goodman ( NUMed)
Lindsey Ferrie ( BMS)
Michael Taggart ( IGM)
Michele Sweeney ( BMS)
Penny Lovat ( ICM)
Janice Ellis ( SDS)
John Whitworth ( SDS)
Sarah Jayne Boulton ( BMS)

Outstanding Contribution to Teaching (FMS)

Bruce Charlton ( PSY)
Chris O’Connor ( SDS)
Chris Ward ( ICM)
Clare Guilding ( SME)
Colin Brown ( ICaMB)
Daniel Nettle ( IoN)
Debra Patten ( SME)
Dr Luisa Wakeling ( SDS)
Dr Ralf Kist ( SDS)
Eimear Fagan ( SME)
Elizabeth Evans ( IHS)
Emma McAllister ( SME)
Felicity may ( NICR)
Iad Gharib ( SDS)
Ian Ellis ( SDS)
Jeffry Hogg ( IGM)
Laura Delgaty ( SME)
Liz Evans ( IHS )
Paul Hubbard ( SME)
Prof Steve McHanwell ( SDS)
Richard McQuade ( IoN)
Sarah Jayne Boulton ( BMS)
Simon Whitehall ( ICaMB)
Stephen McHanwell ( SME)
Yoav Tadmor ( PSY)

Outstanding Contribution to Teaching (Global Campus)

Tim Smith ( NUMed)
Amit Bhardwaj ( NUMed)
Angus Aranan ( NUMed)
Carlo Adrillana ( NUMed)
Dante Roel Fernandez ( NUMed)
Harinarayan Radhakrishna  ( NUMed)
Htar-Htar Aung ( NUMed)
Huai Seng Loh ( NUMed)
Imam Shaik ( NUMed)
Jhoram Funtanares-Nufable ( NUMed)
Kartini Mohd-Nor ( NUMed)
Kenneth McKeegan ( NUMed)
Mary Cronin ( NUMed)
Moe Kyawthu ( NUMed)
Ratnadeep Saha ( NUMed)
Roshan Mascaenhas ( NUMed)
Sarah Simmons ( NUMed)
Tayyaba Tahseen ( NUMed)
Valliammai Valliyappan ( NUMed)
Vivian Andayaverbo ( NUMed)

Postgraduate Student who Teaches of the Year

Jonathan Guckian ( SME)
Robert Kerr ( SME)

Professional Services Staff Member of the Year

Vanessa Armstrong ( BMS)

Research Supervisor of the Year

Evelyne Sernagor and Gerrit Hilgen ( IoN)
Farhad Kamali ( ICM)
Gabriele Jordan ( PSY)

Taught Supervisor of the Year

Bruce Charlton ( PSY)
Laura Delgaty ( SME)
Stuart Watson ( IoN)
Terry Aspray ( ICM)

Capturing student feedback for online programmes

Online programmes are required to facilitate 4 student-staff committees per academic year. As students are often scattered across the UK there is a need to find alternative ways to replace the traditional face to face committees.  The eLearning team that supports the Clinical Research, Oncology and Palliative Care and Clinical and Health Sciences programmes have been looking for new ways to engage students in the process.

Finding a format which would encourage distance learners to participate in virtual student staff committee meetings has been challenging. When setting up a discussion board on Blackboard for each committee was unsuccessful, with the help of an ERDP Development Grant, we decided to trial the commercially available VoiceThread. VoiceThread offered an aesthetically appealing and interactive forum for students with options to communicate via video, text or voice messaging.
Once we started to test the system we ran into a few issues, the key one being students needed to create an account to be able to log in and post on the forums.  This made the system much less student friendly.

We decided to trial a free system called Padlet. It has similar features to VoiceThread but the students don’t need to log in and it can be embedded into Blackboard. It looks aesthetically pleasing, and it has encouraged more participation than we’d had previously. We think this might be because the posts are anonymous.
However, we still found that the majority of feedback was given to Course Reps via email, and Padlet was only used for the first SSC.

What next?
Once the 2017/18 modules are finished, we will look into trialling a new process for the virtual meetings.

Jenny Yeo, Degree Programme Director, MSc Clinical and Health Sciences and Clinical Research (elearning) programmes
Victoria Petrie, Programme Coordinator
Gemma Todd, eLearning Administrator

HEA Senior Fellow Status

Patrick RosencranzCongratulations to Patrick Rosenkranz, School of Psychology, who has been awarded Higher Education Academy Senior Fellow Status. An HEA fellowship is an international recognition of a commitment to professionalism in teaching and learning in higher education and demonstrates alignment of teaching practice with the UK Professional Standards Framework.

Patrick joined the Faculty in 2008 as a lecturer in Psychology. He has been designing and teaching modules across all stages of the undergraduate degree in Psychology including modules in philosophical and conceptual issues, psychometric survey design and his own research field, the Psychology of Religion.  Since 2015, Patrick has acted as Degree Programme Director with a focus on developing and researching assessment and feedback practices as well as enhancing the employability and psychological literacy of his students. Patrick has acted as Faculty Programme Liaison Officer to the CASAP programme. In this role he has worked with colleagues from across the Faculty on personal development in learning and teaching.



Enterprise Challenges in Psychology and Beyond: Developing graduate skills and employability through entrepreneurial learning

Workshop for HEA Annual Conference 5th July 2017

Abstract: Developing enterprise skills and entrepreneurial learning within degree programmes is a propitious way of enhancing employability and preparing students for the workplace and their chosen career. We have developed a set of “enterprise challenges” and embedded them at different stages in the psychology degree. These challenges ask students to use their subject –specific knowledge and skills to develop and then pitch an idea to support specific client groups. In the first part of the workshop we will present different models of delivering enterprise challenges within a psychology degree programme; in the second part we will set participants the challenge to design their own scenario within their discipline.

Patrick Rosenkranz & Amy Fielden, School of Psychology

Alecia Dunn & Charlotte Warin, Careers

Teaching Tips from Psychology

The following recent publication from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology is freely available on the web under
The e-book summarises educational research and teaching practice from a large number of mainly North American based conferences concerned with the teaching of psychology.
The ebook is a vast repository of teaching practice, helpfully ordered into different sections such as “Assessment”, “Critical Thinking” and various subfields of Psychology such as “Clinical Psychology“.
While the focus is clearly on Psychology, the teaching tips will also be of interest to educators from other fields. Topics such as “Online teaching” (p. 215 ff.), “Scholarship of Learning and Teaching” (p.429 ff.) or “Writing” (p.625 ff.) are clearly transferable and relevant to many of our teaching interests in the Faculty.

A second compendium, this one based on UK practice, focusses on the development of psychological literacy in various areas. The compendium consists of short case studies of practice (including one on peer-mentoring in Psychology at Newcastle, pp 49-51).

The case studies cover topics such as employability, peer-assisted learning and innovative assessment.

The compendium can be found here:
A lead article introducing the compendium was published in the Psychology Teaching Review (see reference below).

Patrick Rosenkranz, School of Psychology


Miller, R. L., & Collette, T. (Eds.). (2017). Teaching Tips: A Compendium of Conference Presentations on Teaching, 2015-16. Retrieved from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology web site:

Taylor, J. and Hulme, J.A. (2015). Psychological Literacy: A Compendium of Practice. Retrieved from:

Taylor, J., and Hulme, J.A. (2015). Introducing a compendium of psychological literacy case studies: Reflections on psychological literacy in practice. Psychology Teaching Review, 21(2

Being Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon

Gwyneth Doherty-SneddonWhat route has your career taken to get you where you are today?
I graduated with a first class Honours degree in Psychology from University of Glasgow in 1989. I stayed on at Glasgow until 1994 as a research assistant working for the Human Communication Research Centre (Glasgow, Durham and Edinburgh partnership). During this time I also completed a part-time PhD on the development of children’s visual and verbal conversational skills. I then secured my first lectureship at University of Stirling and worked as an academic (as lecturer, senior lecturer then professor of Psychology) there until 2009. I made the move south of the border to Newcastle in 2010 and was Associate Dean for Research at Northumbria, looking after research in Life Sciences and then in Art, Design and Social Sciences. I moved back into my discipline in 2015 when I was appointed as Head of School of Psychology at Newcastle University.

What do you find most challenging about working in HE learning and teaching?
This is a tricky question. Most challenges are at the same time opportunities for change and for making things better. One thing to highlight is how important it is for all academics to have the chance to shine with their strengths. For example recognising and rewarding excellence in those who focus primarily on learning and teaching in equivalent ways as those who focus on research. It is very difficult for any one individual to truly excel in, and at the same time drive forward, all the areas of activity academics are now expected to excel in.

What’s the best thing you’ve been involved in since you started working with Newcastle University?
Too many things to mention! In my school we have a lot of very exciting projects we are pushing on student recruitment, student support and employability a well as fantastic new programmes and opportunities for students. The best thing that runs as a golden thread throughout all of this is the effort, enthusiasm and dedication of our academic and administrative staff as well as our student reps, ambassadors and helpers. Sounds corny, but we really do feel like a team.

What’s the wisest piece of advice you’ve received from a mentor or colleague?
When I was a junior lecturer, in response to my question as to what I was to teach the following semester, my head of department said, “Do whatever you want to do”. I took this to mean: take your own direction, when you are interested and motivated you will be determined, will make things happen and inspire those around you. It worked!

What’s your top educational research interest?
Over the last 28 years I have researched the visuo-spatial processing links between visual social cues (such as eye gaze and hand gestures) and visual non-social information (as in mental imaging); how children adapt to different communication media (e.g. face-to-face versus live video links); and children’s patterns of gaze as indicators of internal cognitive states like thinking and concentration. My most recent work has investigated gaze aversion as cognitive load management in people with neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism and Williams syndrome. I have been fortunate to receive over £800,000 in ESRC research grants during my career and have seen my work impact on police, social workers, teachers, education services, primary health care workers, and counsellors. My research has always been a significant driver to my teaching and I currently teach on our Masters in Forensic Psychology and will contribute next year to a new undergraduate module on Sensation and Perception in Atypical Development.

If you could have dinner with 3 famous people from history who would they be?

Charles Darwin: a creative and scientific mind who was inspired by all around him including his own children.

Florence Nightingale: a woman who had to overcome considerable adversity for her place at the table.

Boudicca: a woman willing to fight for what was right.

Prof Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon, Head of School of Psychology

The Conscientiousness Index

marina-sawdonMost patients’ complaints to the GMC are about a doctor’s professionalism. But the problem is that professionalism is subjective and difficult to define and measure. We think we have overcome at least part of this problem by developing a tool that monitors conscientiousness, an important part of professionalism. The tool, called the Conscientiousness Index’ (CI) was developed in Durham University and lead by Prof John McLachlan. It consists of points scored by students throughout the year for completion of simple, objective tasks, tasks that a conscientious person would carry out such as handing in assignments on time, attending compulsory session, completing evaluation forms. Our work stems from research carried out in States in the ‘90s that showed that simple administrative tasks such as not handing in a passport photo in the first week at medical school correlated with the likelihood of disciplinary action later on their career as a practising doctor. The CI has been validated against staff and students’ views of the Year 1 and 2 medical undergraduate students’ professionalism and correlates strongly with academic and clinical skills performance. The CI is now part of the summative assessment of professionalism in Phase 1 Medicine, Durham. The CI has been extended to other medical schools (Cork, Ireland) and in the postgraduate health care arena (anaesthetists and paramedics).

Dr Marina Sawdon, Durham University


M. A. Sawdon, K. Whitehouse, G. M. Finn, J. C. McLachlan, D. Murray. Relating professionalism and conscientiousness to develop an objective, scalar, proxy measure of professionalism in anaesthetic trainees. BMC Medical Education. 17:49.

Kelly M, O’Flynn S, McLachlan J, Sawdon M. The Clinical Conscientiousness Index: a valid tool to explore professionalism in the clinical undergraduate setting. Academic Medicine 2012.

McLachlan J Measuring conscientiousness and professionalism in undergraduate medical students. The Clinical Teacher 2010; 7: 37-40.

Finn, G., Garner, J. & Sawdon, M. “You’re judged all the time!” Students’ views on professionalism: A multi-centre study. Medical Education 2010; 44(8):814-25.

Finn, G., Sawdon, M., Clipsham, L. & McLachlan J. Peer estimates of low professionalism correlate with low Conscientiousness Index scores. Medical Education 2009; 43(9): 960-967.

McLachlan J, Finn G, McNaughton RJ The Conscientiousness Index: an objective scalar measure of conscientiousness correlates to staff expert judgements on students’ professionalism. Academic Medicine 2009; 84: 559-65.

Chaytor A, Spencer J, Armstrong A, McLachlan J. Do students learn to be more conscientious at medical school? BMC Medical Education 2012; 12:54

ERDP Development Grants funded November 2016

We’re pleased to announce that the following projects have been funded in the latest ERDP Development Grant call.

Meeting the needs of patients with disabilities – how can we better prepare the new dental graduate?

Dr Kathy Wilson & Richard Holmes, School of Dental Sciences, Dr Laura Delgaty, School of Medical Education and Kate Bird (Fifth Year Dental Student)

Teaching the teachers to draw: Observational drawing in as an educational approach.

Dr Iain Keenan, School of Medical Education

Focus group study of the influences of teachers on medical students’ consideration of future career choice.

Dr Hugh Alberti, School of Medical Education

Evaluating resilience for academic study sessions.

Dr Helen St Clair-Thompson, School of Psychology, Michael Atkinson, School of Medical Education & Professor John Whitworth, Dental Sciences



ASME Educator Innovator Award 2017

laura-delgatyLaura Delgaty (School of Medical Education) is this year’s winner of the ASME Educator Innovator Award.

This national teaching award is in recognition of her research, funded by the Faculty Unit for Educational Research Development and Practice (ERDP) around the use of multimedia research digistories as online educational resources for our Medical Education Master’s  students.  The original funding application was submitted by a team that Laura led and included Erika Gavillet (library) and Marc Bennett (NUIT).  In an effort to make the ‘tacit’ and complex research process more explicit to students, and aware of time pressures to academics, Laura created digistories using archived materials.

As part of the award Laura will be presenting her research at the next ASME conference in July 2017,  ‘If story telling is central to human meaning, why, in the research world, is there not more storytelling?’

Please click here (allowing a minute to load) to view a RDS example created in SWAY: