University Peer Mentor of the Year Awards

Congratulations to all who were nominated or won an award at this year’s Peer Mentor of the Year Awards. The awards take place every year and celebrate peer mentoring across the University.


Patrick Rosenkranz from Psychology won the top award of ‘Staff Co-ordinator of the Year’ for his work running the Psychology Peer Mentoring Programme.  Runners up were Alison Howard and Jeremy Brown from Biomedical Sciences.


Student Amran Thandi from Pharmacy was the winner of the Peer Mentor of the Year in FMS Award.

See more about the awards on the LTDS blog.

FMS staff awarded HEA fellowship status

Congratulations to the following staff who have been awarded Higher Education Academy Fellow Status.

D1 Associate Fellow

Israa Al-Banaa, ICM

Alison Day, ICaMB

Katherine Johnson , ICM

Hanan Kashbour, IGM

Kirsty McAleese, IoN

Michelle Miller, Digital Skills


D2 Fellow

Rachel Crossland, ICM

Aaron Koshy, FMS Graduate school

Annette Meeson, IGM

Shalabh  Srivastava, IGM

Tom Clifford , BioMed

Alison Howard, BioMed

Alessio Iannetti, Pharmacy

Sarah Jayne Boulton, BioMed

Sarah  Sowden, Institute of Health and Society

Mohammed  Dungarwalla, Medical Education

David Edwards, Medical Education

Helen Hargreaves, Medical Education

Laura Hemmer, Medical Education

Lee Longstaff, Medical Education

Blair Merrick, Medical Education

Chris Taylor, Medical Education


D3 Senior Fellow

Alison Clapp, FMS Graduate school

Richy Hetherington, FMS Graduate school

Richard McQuade, Pharmacy


What is an HEA fellowship?

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.  A senior fellowship recognises in particular:

  • experienced staff able to demonstrate, impact and influence through, for example, responsibility for leading, managing or organising programmes, subjects and/or disciplinary areas;
  • experienced subject mentors and staff who support those new to teaching;
  • experienced staff with departmental and/or wider teaching and learning support advisory responsibilities within an institution

New publication: Characterising and justifying sample size sufficiency in interview-based studies: systematic analysis of qualitative health research over a 15-year period

Sue Thorpe (School of Psychology) is co-author on a paper just published by the BMC Medical Research Methodolgy Journal.  You can read the abstract below or read the full paper.

Background: Choosing a suitable sample size in qualitative research is an area of conceptual debate and practical uncertainty. That sample size principles, guidelines and tools have been developed to enable researchers to set, and justify the acceptability of, their sample size is an indication that the issue constitutes an important marker of the quality of qualitative research. Nevertheless, research shows that sample size sufficiency reporting is often poor, if not absent, across a range of disciplinary fields.

Methods: A systematic analysis of single-interview-per-participant designs within three health-related journals from the disciplines of psychology, sociology and medicine, over a 15-year period, was conducted to examine whether and how sample sizes were justified and how sample size was characterised and discussed by authors. Data pertinent to sample size were extracted and analysed using qualitative and quantitative analytic techniques.

Results: Our findings demonstrate that provision of sample size justifications in qualitative health research is limited; is not contingent on the number of interviews; and relates to the journal of publication. Defence of sample size was most frequently supported across all three journals with reference to the principle of saturation and to pragmatic considerations. Qualitative sample sizes were predominantly – and often without justification – characterised as insufficient (i.e., ‘small’) and discussed in the context of study limitations. Sample size insufficiency was seen to threaten the validity and generalizability of studies’ results, with the latter being frequently conceived in nomothetic terms.

Conclusions: We recommend, firstly, that qualitative health researchers be more transparent about evaluations of their sample size sufficiency, situating these within broader and more encompassing assessments of data adequacy. Secondly, we invite researchers critically to consider how saturation parameters found in prior methodological studies and sample size community norms might best inform, and apply to, their own project and encourage that data adequacy is best appraised with reference to features that are intrinsic to the study at hand. Finally, those reviewing papers have a vital role in supporting and encouraging transparent study-specific reporting.

Director’s update Autumn 2018

Welcome to this first newsletter of the 2018/2019 academic year.  Our undergraduate students have recently arrived back to start their studies including many joining us in Newcastle for the first whilst many of our clinical and postgraduate students have been with us for several weeks.  Meanwhile, we also welcome new staff to the Faculty.  If you are reading this newsletter for the first time, I hope you will join us in our events programme or want to submit a small grants application for a project that you would like to carry out.

Details of our event programme are included in this newsletter.  Our monthly Journal Club continues and I would like to thank Luisa Wakeling for continuing to run this programme, our contributors who present papers for us to read and for all of you who attend and contribute to the ensuing lively professional discussions.  Our seminar programme is also planned and we have speakers talking on a wide range of issues including assessment and widening participation.

One event I would like to highlight is the workshop in November from Sella Jones-Devitt on Student Voice.  This is a leadership Foundation-funded project and I attended the inaugural workshop in Sheffield earlier in the year.  I can promise this thought-provoking and stimulating session.  I am still planning the programme for after Christmas and while I have some speakers lined up there are still spaces if people have somebody in mind they would like to invite.  I am also planning to start a Writing Group as a mutual self-help group for people want support in writing for publication.  Details about this will follow soon.  Finally, our first Faculty Learning and Teaching Forum is on December 8th so please make time to join us for that event.

The ERDP Small Grants scheme continues next year.  We are publishing submission dates in advance and this year have made a small change to those dates by making them quarterly rather than three times a year.  At the same time, can I remind you that we are prepared to accept applications for support where there is an immediate need.  So, please start thinking now about projects you might want to initiate or a short period of study leave that you might wish to undertake.

Another full year of activity is ahead of us and I look forward to meeting many of you at one or more of our events during the year.

Prof Steve McHanwell, Director of the ERDP Network

ULTSEC Innovation Fund: An educational experience supported and enhanced by technology; a mixed methods exploration of students’ and staff’s perspectives

We’re delighted our strategic project application for the ULTSEC Innovation fund has been approved. The study is titled: ‘An educational experience supported and enhanced by technology; a mixed methods exploration of students’ and staff’s perspectives’.

The University’s education strategy draws a large emphasis on delivering an educational experience supported and enhanced by technology. The study is a sequential mixed methods approach to explore students’ and staff’s perspectives across the University, including NUMED, London and Singapore, on wants and needs with respect to the use of technology in teaching and learning. The study will be conducted in two phases. The first phase (qualitative) will consist of an in-depth exploration of students’ and staff’s (including professional support staff) perspectives of technology in the teaching and learning environment and focus groups will be conducted in all locations/Faculties. In the second phase (quantitative) a web-based self-completion survey will be developed and conducted. Gaining an understanding of how students and staff utilise technology and their views on how technology could be incorporated into their educational experience, is vital in order to align the teacher-learner perspective and prioritise technology use and the support thereof. We are currently recruiting student interns and hope to start data collection in the next few months. We are very grateful to the ULTSEC Committee for this opportunity and we look forward to sharing the results.

Project Team: Dr. Floor Christie, Dr. Ruth Valentine, Mr. John Moss, Ms. Bhavani Veasuvalingam.

ULTSEC Funding: Postgraduate Study in Newcastle: the inter-cultural experience (PG-Nice)

The ULTSEC has awarded strategic project funding to Karolien Jordens, Postgraduate Administrator in the Institute of Cellular Medicine, for a joint project between FMS, HaSS, SAgE and the EDI committee. This strategic project is called “Postgraduate study in Newcastle: the inter-cultural experience (PG-Nice)” and its aim is to investigate the cultural and linguistic difficulties international students across the University are faced with and how these difficulties affect their experience abroad.

Recruitment, retention and completion of international postgraduate students are indicators of a University’s research health. In addition to making important contributions academically and financially, these students are a barometer of our worldwide standing. Anecdotal experience suggests that our international students can be confronted with cultural and linguistic difficulties, and we hypothesise they affect learning gain. To provide future students with the best experience, we will investigate the linguistic and cultural challenges of our students and how they affect postgraduate academic performance so we can improve it for the benefit of the students and the institution.

ERDP Development Grant: Aligning Learner and Patient Feedback Priorities to Enhance Communication Skills and Professionalism in Dental Undergraduates

In 2017 Ashleigh Stamp and Sarah Rolland were awarded an ERDP Development Grant to fund a project to develop, pilot and assess the effectiveness of a Patient Feedback Tool (PFT) to provide dental undergraduates with formative feedback on patient-perceived communication skills and professionalism.  This report details the progress of this project to date.


The powerful influence of feedback on student learning is well documented, with it being an essential component in clinical education and professional development.1-3  Patient feedback can complement and enhance that delivered by clinical teachers and academics; this is particularly pertinent when it comes to communication skills and perception of student professionalism, providing unique insight into the actions of those training and working in caring professions and provided greatest benefit to future healthcare provision.4-6

With effective feedback being highly valued by students and benchmark of good practice within higher education, increasing the role of patients in the development of future dental professionals is crucial.  Recognising this, the General Dental Council (GDC) have stipulated the key role patient feedback must play in the quality assurance within undergraduate dental education.7   Where concerns about anonymity could influence the nature of observations provided, Simulated Patients (SPs) may offer an alternative source of ‘patient’ feedback.


  • Develop a Patient Feedback Tool (PFT) to assess communication skills and professionalism – from the ‘patient’ perspective
  • Embed this PFT within an undergraduate Bachelor of Dental Sciences (BDS) Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)

Work undertaken so far

A draft paper-based PFT (comprising checklist and free text elements) was developed by the research team, based on a summative clinical assessment utilised by Newcastle School of Medical Education. Following initial pilot within a BDS OSCE, a series of focus groups with dental undergraduates, SPs and staff (Figure 1) explored:

  • priorities relating to PFT purpose, design and delivery
  • perception of nature, worth and dissemination of feedback (including review of anonymised PFT free-text comments)


Audio recordings of focus groups were transcribed prior to thematic analysis and used to modify the PFT prior to further pilot.  Concurrent thematic analysis of free-text comments considered ‘how’ SPs used this component of the PFT.

Preliminary Results and Discussion

Students, SPs and staff identified distinct benefits offered by a formative PFT and agreed a necessity to highlight areas of commendation and concern.  The ability to provide and receive free-text comments was highly valued by SPs and students, respectively.  Placing greater emphasis upon this aspect of the PFT is reliant upon appropriate SP training, calibration and time to formulate feedback as well as a distinct need to deliver feedback in a safe and supportive environment; recognising the means of doing so may differ between learners.  Despite staff concerns about student access to ‘raw’ individualised feedback, this was met with enthusiasm by learners; recognising the potential for unbiased and constructive comments to aid professional development and benefit healthcare provision.

Further Research to be Undertaken:

Recognising the limitations of a tool employed within scenarios designed to replicate ‘real-life’, further research will enhance PFT design and delivery whilst considering its influence upon student development.  Key to this will be increasing user-friendliness of the PFT, converting the checklist component to a series of Likert-type scales reflecting areas of commendation and concern and considering the use of digital technology.  Workshops with key stakeholders over coming months will guide PFT development and consider its ability to ‘feed-forward’ to shape undergraduate training across Newcastle SDS.


This preliminary research was presented in 2018 at the International Association for Dental Research 96th General Session and Exhibition/Pan European Regional Congress in London.


  • Ende J. Feedback in clinical medical education. JAMA 1983; 250:777-781.
  • Hattie J, Timperley H. The Power of feedback. Review of Educational Research 2007; 77:81-112.
  • Norcini J. The power of feedback. Medical Education 2010; 44:101-108.
  • Cleland J A, Abe K, Rethans J-J. The use of simulated patients in medical education: AMEE Guide No 42. Medical Teacher 2009; 31:477-486.
  • Park J H, Son J Y, Kim S, May W. Effect of feedback from standardized patients on medical students’ performance and perceptions of the neurological examination. Medical Teacher 2011; 33:1005-1010.
  • Von Fragstein M, Silverman J, Cushing A, Quilligan S, Salisbury H, Wiskin C. UK consensus statement on the content of communication curricula in undergraduate medical education. Medical Education 2008; 42:1100-1107
  • General Dental Council (2015) Standards for Education. Standards and requirements for providers. London: General Dental Council. [Online].  Available at: (Accessed: 27th March 2017).


Project team: Miss Ashleigh Stamp (Paediatric Dentistry), Dr Efstathia Tzemou (School of Psychology) Dr Richard Holmes (Dental Public Health) and Dr Sarah Rolland (Orthodontics).

Conference presentation: ASME 2018

The ASME (Association for the Study of Medical Education) Annual Scientific Meeting was held at the Sage Gateshead between 11th and 13th July.

There was a packed programme which offered a diversity of formats and content.  This enabled attendees to get exposure to a wide variety of medical education topics, but also allowed tailoring of the meeting to specific interests.  The programme included thought-provoking and inspiring Keynote presentations, parallel sessions, poster presentations, Special Interest Group sessions and Pop-up events.

I delivered an oral presentation entitled ‘Delivering to ‘that list’: The challenges of working with Learning Outcomes’.  It was a valuable and enjoyable opportunity, with an audience (a crowded room) which was both supportive and knowledgeable.

Funding from the School of Dental Science’s Helen Tonge Award supported my attendance at this conference.  Overall it was a brilliant conference, great venue and a fantastic opportunity to network!

Heidi Bateman, School of Dental Sciences

New ERDP Development Grants

We’re pleased to announce that the following projects have been funded by the ERDP.

Tackling the common issues of the Faculty’s Student Academic Representation system in a half-day event.

Luisa Wakeling and Alessio Iannetti

Student and Educator perspectives on the teaching of compassion at Newcastle Medical School

Jane Atkinson, Alison Craig and Hugh Alberti

FMS Education Journal Club Semester 2 Summer Term

July seems rather a long time ago but the discussion is still with me from Michael Atkinson’ s journal club where he presented Berg, P & Seeber, BK (2013) The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy. Transformative Dialogues: Teaching & Learning Journal, 6 (3) April 2013. This paper rang true with many of us including phrases such as “feeling guilty… and then we deny being overwhelmed even to ourselves”, “[we are] too busy to slow down” and “academic work by its very nature is never done”. Can we really go into this academic year, protect our time outside of work, and make room for our scholarship time? We spoke about a few strategies to be more productive such as leaving the email until later in the morning and then turning it off completely once we walk out of the door. Applying the ‘Is it urgent AND important?’ rule and knowing when enough is enough on developing a project/teaching were also mentioned. Overall, we need to do a bit more of looking after ourselves, as also discussed in the paper, our wellbeing “is inextricably linked with students’ learning”.

So I hope these digests have inspired you to come along to our club this new academic year and take the time out (with a spot of lunch) to discuss education with like-minded teachers from across the faculty. The programme of presenters is almost full and I only have two slots left so please do get in touch if you would like to present!

Looking forward to it!

Luisa Wakeling, School of Dental Sciences