Directors update: Autumn 2017

Welcome to this first newsletter of the new academic year.  The new students have arrived and, as I write, are attending their first induction events, the first year conference and all the other activities that accompany starting at University.  Meanwhile we in the faculty of Medical Sciences are also welcoming new colleagues.  So, let me extend a warm welcome to those colleagues in the School of Medical Education and the Institute of Health and Society who have joined us from Durham. I also extend a warm welcome to colleagues in our new School of Pharmacy some of whom have also moved from Durham whilst others have been newly-appointed to join us in Newcastle.  I hope you will all be able to attend some of our various events in our programme for this year and I hope to meet as many of you as possible during this year at one or more of those events.

Our programme of regular events continues this year.  We have a monthly Journal Club, a learning and teaching seminar programme with mostly external speakers and our two learning and teaching fora.  Details of the Journal Club and Learning and Teaching Fora will be found in this newsletter.  Please make diary entries now.  The seminar programme is still being finalised.  This year I am organising the programme slightly differently in that I am inviting Schools to nominate speakers.  So confirmed speakers for the coming year are Naomi Winstone from Surrey, Carol Evans from Southampton, Dave Lewis from Leeds and Gavin Knight, from Portsmouth.  Further speakers are being confirmed and I do have space in the programme for additional speakers.  If anybody would like to propose further speakers I would be happy to include them in this year’s programme.  Dates are still being agreed (it is quite a juggling act) but I can confirm that our first seminar of the academic year will be on November 8th and will be given by Naomi Winstone, a psychologist who has been looking at feedback practice but has also been carrying out some experimental work on feedback as well.

Other events to note in the coming year are two important education conferences both happening in Newcastle, the ASME Conference in July and the BERA conference in September (full details and links below).  With these conferences both being held in Newcastle this provides a good platform to disseminate your work without having to travel the length of the country or further.  I hope as many of you as possible will want to submit an abstract to one or other or both of these events.  Abstracts for the British Educational Research Association Conference undergo quite a rigorous a peer review process.  The Centre for Learning and Teaching normally, at one of their paper writing group sessions, pre-review abstracts so if you are thinking of putting forward an abstract then note the submission date and you can have your abstract reviewed internally prior to submission.

Two other events to draw your attention to are the conference being organised by the School of Pharmacy, Active Learning on the 27th June (details also below) and an international symposium on anatomy education on July 19th organised by Debra Patten in Medical Education (full details to appear in the next newsletter).  As you can see we have a wide-ranging events programme already announced so I hope to see you at as many events as your busy timetables allow so get those dates in your diaries now.

Finally the ERDP Small Grants Scheme will continue next year.  We have yet to decide submission dates but in the meantime you can start thinking if there are any projects that you would like to get started or short periods of study leave that you would like to undertake and for which you would wish to seek funding.

Another full year of activity is ahead of all of us.  Our first priority is, of course, to deliver teaching and support student learning to the highest standards possible but in achieving that it is important that we also take time to think about our practice and the intention very much is for our programmes to be a part of that for you.

Prof Steve McHanwell, Director, FMS Unit for ERDP

AMEE 2017

The AMEE conference, which is an International Medical Education conference held annually was attended by almost four thousand people and held in Helsinki, Finland this August. Three members of the Medical Education research team attended and presented their research at the conference.

I was there to present work on ‘identified factors that either facilitate or hinder medical specialties progressing through their annual review of competence of progression (ARCP’s)’. The findings of which have been informing Health Education England’s national ARCP review.

My colleague Prof Jan Illing presented a Department of Health funded study on ‘Evidence for assuring the continuing fitness to practise of Health and Care Professions Council registrants, based on its Continuing Professional Development’ and my colleague Dr Amelia Kehoe presented work on ‘Exploring how interventions support the successful transition of overseas doctors to the NHS’.

The conference was a good mixture of plenaries, workshops, parallel and poster sessions on current topics of interest and debate in medical education from around the world. It also lent itself to good opportunities for networking with colleagues from the UK and further afield.

For more information download the conference programme.

Charlotte Rothwell, School of Medical Education



Active Learning workshop

A date for your diaries!

In June 2018 Prof Andy Husband and Dr Hamde Nazar will be hosting a workshop that will explore active learning.  This workshop has been funded by the University Conference Fund and an ERDP Development Grant.

The workshop aims to promote and showcase innovative, theoretically-based educational design and evaluation towards fostering student motivation and thereby improving student engagement. Invited internationally recognised speakers offer expertise in technology enhanced and team based learning. Attendees will also have the opportunity to discuss and develop their own ideas for active learning educational interventions and research.

Being Prof Jan Illing

What route has your career taken to get you where you are today?

I studied psychology, then did a social work masters and then a PhD on the social origins of depression. I started my research career in psychiatry and worked on the Cognitive Functions and Aging Study (CFAS) for six years from 1991; an MRC multi-centre study on the prevalence and incidence of dementia with Prof Ian McKeith and David Kay in particular. I also worked in primary health care for a short time with Prof Chris Drinkwater before moving into Medical Education.  In 1998. I started working for the Northern Deanery in the field of Medical Education with Prof van Zwanenberg. I have stayed in Medical Education as I quickly learned that research in this applied field was much more likely to create a change in practice or policy. I moved from Newcastle University with my research team in 2010 to Durham University and in 2011 was appointed to professor. While at Durham I worked with Profs Mclachlan and Hungin. We set up a research Centre which enjoyed a very good reputation. In 2015 I moved back to Newcastle University with my team now consisting of: Drs Carter, Corbett, Hesselgreaves, Kehoe, Medford and Rothwell.

What do you find most challenging about working in HE learning and teaching?

I like to provide students with proper detailed feedback and support, this is of course time consuming and finding enough time can be an issue. I also carry a To Do list around with me to remind me of what I need to do next.

Equality is something that matters to me, and lack of core funding for research staff is a major concern to me.

What’s the best thing you’ve been involved in since you started working with Newcastle University?

In November 2015 I set up a Symposium on Longitudinal Integrated Clerkships for medical students. We were able to get amazing speakers: David Hirsh (Harvard) and Paul Worley (Flinders, Adelaide) as well as our local speakers Hugh Alberti, Paul Crampton and Bob McKinley (Keele). I supervised Paul Crampton’s PhD and feel quite passionate about the potential of these long term placements to facilitate student learning but also enhance a student’s ability to see a patient holistically. The evidence indicates students on these placements become more patient centred, strengthening care and compassion.

What’s the wisest piece of advice you’ve received from a mentor or colleague?

“Work with people you like!”

Prof  Zwanenberg my boss 10 or more years ago learned this from a visit to McMaster University in Canada and shared it with me.

It’s a good starting point, it builds trust, generosity and collegiality.

What’s your top educational research interest?

As stated earlier I enjoy doing research that makes a difference. I have been involved in a few studies that have changed policy and practice

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

I have selected three people who believed in equality and had a vision that was eventually realised.

Nelson Mandela, because he fought for equality but he also understood the power of forgiveness. I visited Robben Island in 2000, and heard from the guide, a former inmate, about Mandela’s reconciliation.

Martin Luther King, because he was a visionary and saw a future of equity. In 2014 I went to Martha’s Vineyard and someone pointed out the house where he wrote the speech “I have a dream”.

Emmeline Pankhust, who lead the suffragette movement and was instrumental in gaining women the vote and influencing equal rights for women. It’s hard to believe how different things were less than a hundred years ago.

Prof Jan Illing

Professor of Medical Education Research, School of Medical Education.


EuroPLAT 2017 symposium

In September Patrick Rosenkranz presented a paper as part of a symposium on Psychological literacy at EuroPLAT 2017.

Paper Title:

Enterprise challenges in Psychology: enhancing psychological literacy through entrepreneurial learning.

Patrick Rosenkranz, Psychology, Alecia Dunn, formerly Careers Service – Rise Up, Newcastle University, Amy Fielden, Psychology, Trevor James, Psychology, Charlotte Warin, Careers Service – Rise Up


Psychology as a discipline and profession is not readily associated with what is commonly known as entrepreneurship, the process of designing, launching and running new business ventures. However, developing aspects of an entrepreneurial mind-set and attitude are pivotal for a fully psychologically literate graduate: this mind set includes the ability to draw upon resources such as psychological knowledge and skills, and then use these to realize psychological ideas in the real world, i.e. benefiting themselves, their community or society as a whole. Entrepreneurial learning processes provide an opportunity for students in psychology to apply their growing knowledge to a real world setting, and for enhancing and advancing their psychological literacy and employability. We created a teaching and learning model called an ‘Enterprise Challenge’ in collaboration with a number of mental health charities and embedded these at various stages of the undergraduate degree programme.  Students are presented with a brief, which constitutes the main task of the challenge and then work in groups to develop their ideas. Tasks and brief are designed to represent real –life problems or issues and the challenge for the students is to develop a product, service or initiative that addresses these issues. In the process of developing the idea, students need to consider practical, financial and ethical constraints. The challenge culminates in a pitch given by the students to a panel of judges who evaluate the feasibility, and creativity of the idea. In this talk we will present the rationale of these challenges and how embedding entrepreneurial processes in the psychology curriculum can aid the development of psychological literacy.

For more information contact



Faculty Publications Autumn 2017

Congratulations to everyone in the Faculty who has published their research this quarter.

Journal Articles

Bateman H, Ellis J, Stewart J, McCracken G (2017), Using learning outcomes in dental education. British Dental Journal.

Sarah Barnfield, Alison Clara Pitts, Raj Kalaria, Louise Allan and Ellen Tullo (2017), Is all the stuff about neurons necessary?. Research Involvement and Engagement.

Hardisty J, Guilding C, Statham L, J Matthan, Randles E, Green A, Bhudia R, Thandi C, Scott L (2017), Are students accepting of an all-day interprofessional learning conference on antimicrobial stewardship and patient safety?. International Journal of Pharmacy Practice.

Holliday R, Amin K, Lawrence V, Preshaw PM (2017), Tobacco education in UK dental schools: A survey of current practice. European Journal of Dental Education

Keenan ID, Hutchinson J, Bell K (2017), Twelve tips for implementing artistic learning approaches in anatomy education. MedEd Publish.

Kehoe A, Illing J (2017), Early Clinical exposure requires facilitated access to support learning Medical Education. Medical Education .

McGeown SP, Putwain D, St Clair-Thompson H, Clough P (2017), Understanding and supporting adolescents’ mental toughness in an educational context. Psychology in the Schools.

McHanwell, S, Patten, D (2017), Exploring strategies in teaching in cross-sectional anatomy: can improved teaching compensate for poor spatial ability?  Journal of Anatomy, 230(2), 355.

Nazar H, Obara I, Paterson A, Nazar Z, Portlock JC, Husband AK (2017), A consensus approach to investigate undergraduate pharmacy students’ experience of interprofessional education. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education .

Smith CF, Stokholm C, Sinha R, Poinkwer F, Carter M, Birch M (2017), Interplays of psychometric abilities on learning gross anatomy.. MedEd Publish.

St Clair-Thompson H, Giles R, McGeown S, Putwain D, Clough P, Perry J (2017), Mental toughness and transitions to high school and to undergraduate study. Educational Psychology.

Teodorczuk A, Yardley S, Patel R, Worley P, Hirsch D, Illing J (2017), Medical education research should extend further into clinical practice. Medical Education.

Vance GHS, Burford B, Shapiro E, Price R (2017), Longitudinal evaluation of a pilot e-portfolio-based supervision programme for final year medical students: views of students, supervisors and new graduates. BMC Medical Education.

Book Chapter

Illing J, Carter M (2017), Philosophical research perspectives and planning your research. In Understanding Medical Education. Eds. Swanwick, O’Brien and Forest Wiley Blackwell.

Text Book

Atkinson M. and McHanwell, S (2017).  Basic Medical Science for Speech and Language Therapy Students.  Revised 2nd Edition.  J&R Publishers ( forthcoming November 2017)

Patterson, J. and McHanwell, S.  (2017).  The physiology of swallowing.  In Scott-Brown’s Otolaryngology:  Head and Neck Surgery, 8th Edition, Paleri, V. et al eds. Boca Raton: CRC Press Taylor and Francis.


Conference Proceedings

Delgaty L (2017), If story telling is central to human meaning, why, in the research world, is there not more story telling?. ASME.

Hennessy C, Keenan ID, Border S (2017), Anatomy of a tweet: how to use social media as anacademic tool. Anatomical Society Summer Meeting at Brighton and Sussex Medical School.

Keenan ID, Backhouse M, Fitzpatrick M, Hutchinson J, Thandi CS (2017), Improvements in anatomy knowledge when using a novel cyclical artistic learning process. Anatomical Society Summer Meeting at Brighton and Sussex Medical School.

Keenan ID, Border S, Hennessy C (2017), Live tweeting at Anatomical Society Conferences: A shorthistory of its rise and impact. Anatomical Society Winter Meeting 2016.

Keenan ID, Shapiro L (2017), Teaching anatomists to draw: observational drawing as aneducational approach. Anatomical Society Winter Meeting 2016.

Keenan ID, Solim ZN, Quigg S, Kerwin J, Lindsay S (2017), Enhancing student learning of human embryology with aprototype e-learning resource. Anatomical Society Winter Meeting 2016. URL

Munjal I, Thomson R, Goff I, Fisher J, Stewart J (2017), ‘Great idea’, ‘sounds scary’, ‘I’m too busy’; Identifying the barriers in developing a staff peer observation programme. Diversity in Medical Education: about people, for people, by people.

Smith C, Finn G, Hennessy C, Stewart J, McHanwell S (2017), Creating and evaluating the impact of a core syllabus in anatomy education using a Delphi methodology. Diversity in medical education: about people, for people, by people.

Woods E, Thomson R, Fisher J, Stewart J (2017), Revolutionising feedback: an exploration of barriers and drivers to change. Diversity in medical education: about people, for people, by people.

Young TJ, Tullo ET, Schartner A (2017), Person-Centred communication and the care of people with dementia: exploring the perspectives of medical students in the UK and Malaysia.. 17th Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.


Keenan ID, Jennings BA (2017), Concluding Commentary. Life Sciences in an Integrated Medical Curriculum: Continuing the Conversation. MedEdPublish.


Burford B, Alberti H, Kennedy D (2017), Early career intentions of medical students: are we selecting the graduates we need for the 21st century?. Education for Primary Care.


Illing J, Corbett S, Kehoe A, Hesselgreaves H, Crampton P, Sawdon M, Medford W, Finn G, Tiffin P (2017), How does the education and training of health and social care staff lead to patient benefit: a realist synthesis Report for Department of Health.


Li K, Kui C, Lee E, Ho C, Wong S, Wu W, Wong W, Voll J, Li G, Liu T, Yan B, Chan J, Tse G, Keenan ID (2017), The role of 3D printing in anatomy education and surgical training: A narrative review.. MedEdPublish.



NUAGE team host HEA visit to celebrate CATE award shortlisting

The NUAGE team (Ellen Tullo, Laura Greaves, Luisa Wakeling and John Lloyd) were shortlisted for a Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) this year. This is an award set up by the HEA to celebrate collaborative work in teaching and learning and captures the creative and innovative practice that positively impacts on the student experience. NUAGE is a module at Newcastle that has been recognised for its exemplary work in delivering multidisciplinary teaching about ageing informed by collaboration with older members of the public recruited via Voice North in the design and delivery of the curriculum. The CEO of the HEA, Professor Stephanie Marshall, visited Newcastle on the 20th September to meet the team and present them with a certificate. The team hope to continue their collaboration with the HEA to raise the profile of NUAGE globally.

Talking about the team’s success, Steve McHanwell, Director of the ERDP said:

 “This first round of CATE Awards were highly competitive.  It is a tribute to the highly innovative nature of this module and the hard work put into this project by Luisa, Ellen and Laura that their efforts have been recognised in this way by the Higher Education Academy”

Read more about the team’s research work on collaborative working in a blog from Ellen.

Image L-R: Suzanne Cholerton, Luisa Wakeling, Ellen Tullo, John Lloyd (member of VoiceNorth), Stephanie Marshall (HEA) and Michael Parker (HEA).


ADEE conference 2017

Rachel Green, Ashleigh Stamp, Charlotte Currie and Simon Stone presented a series of presentations as part of the Pre-Clinical Skills Special Interest Group workshop at the ADEE conference 2017 in Vilnius, Lithuania on “Bridging the Gap Between Preclinical and Clinical Training” in dental education.

As the main speaker, Simon discussed the challenges of transitioning into the clinics focussing on student welfare and resilience.  Following this Rachel presented the Newcastle University undergraduate extraction experience, focussing on the competency based assessment used for forceps and surgical exodontia.

Ashleigh discussed the teaching of dental extractions under sedation with Dental Hygiene and Therapy students, including the practical and psychological challenges our students encounter, and Charlotte presented the various practical local anaesthetic teaching models available, and the approach and rationale taken at Newcastle.

The Newcastle University team then facilitated a series of small group discussions on the European-wide challenges and experiences of bridging the gap between preclinical and clinical education with the workshop attendees, this will lead to further work within the Special Interest Group and ADEE.

Charlotte Currie, School of Dental Sciences

Study on placements for life science undergraduates

Gaining relevant work experience has never been more vital for undergraduates in helping them gain employment or securing competitive places for further study.  Placements come in all shapes and sizes be it a 1 year position in industry, GP shadowing, a summer research project or an exchange abroad and student motivations and perceptions to undertake these opportunities are often presumed.

This research project started earlier this year in collaboration with University of Liverpool (Dr Lu Vieira de Mello) and Kingston University, London (Dr Nigel Page). An electronic survey was circulated to life science undergraduates and we got 292 respondents.  Focus groups with students have also been run to gain further insight into motivations and any potential barriers students face which might stop them seeking these opportunities.  The survey has now closed and has found some interesting patterns and themes across the three institutions.  Student demographics have also been investigated as part of this work to evaluate any other potential factors that may affect perceptions and uptake of placements. Closer analysis of School data on placements is also being done including sex, nationality and exam performances and whether undertaking a placement has any effect on academic performance.  It is hoped that this work can be used at a School level to enhance support and opportunities but also be disseminated to the wider community.

Many thanks to ERDP for supporting this research both with study support and with development grant.

Vanessa Armstrong, School of Biomedical Sciences

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

ERDP funding facilitated implementation of a three day workshop for anatomists and life sciences educators from across the UK held within the Anatomy and Clinical Skills Centre during May 2017.  Workshops were delivered by South African collaborator Leonard Shapiro, who is an experienced drawing teacher and skilled workshop facilitator. The primary purpose of the workshop was to encourage the deep observation of anatomy, achieved through a specifically designed haptico-visual observation and drawing (HVO&D) technique.

Participant feedback from the event was overwhelmingly positive. It is expected that analysis of experimental, survey and focus group data collected from a pilot research study conducted during the workshop will provide further insights into the value of the process for participants and their students.


A 12 tips article has been published in MedEdPublish, Twelve tips for implementing artistic learning approaches in anatomy education,  and this includes a description of the workshop.

An article describing the theoretical and practical aspects of the HVO&D process is currently in preparation for submission for publication, and findings from the pilot study were presented at the AMEE 2017 conference in Helsinki. I will also be speaking about this work at the Scottish Anatomists meeting in September in Aberdeen.

Future investigations will develop and expand upon the pilot study in order to optimise HVO&D and our previously described “Observe-Reflect-Draw-Edit-Repeat” (ORDER) learning process, and to identify successful strategies for implementation into curricula.

Iain Keenan, School of Medical Education