Conference presentations: IADR

The 96th General Session of the International Association of Dental Research took place at the Excel London Convention Centre between 25-28th July.

The IADR has over 11,000 members worldwide and so represents a superb opportunity for international showcasing of dental research. Included within the IADR programme are sessions devoted to Education research and on this occasion, Newcastle University’s Dental Educational Research Group was well represented.

Luisa Wakeling presented on her work on Student Voice with our Student-Staff committee – her poster ‘Enhancing professional learning through student representation’ prompted much interest.

Heidi Bateman is currently undertaking a PhD in which she is attempting to unpick the concept of professionalism through a documentary analysis approach. Heidi and her three supervisors (Jane Stewart,  Giles McCracken & Janice Ellis) presented a triptych of posters which explored some of her fascinating findings to date;

  • Thematic Analysis of the ‘Professional’ in a Regulator’s Governance Document
  • Conceptualising Professionalism as Portrayed in a Regulators Curriculum Document
  • Documentary Analysis of Professionalism in Regulated Clinical Programmes

The final poster was presented by Ashleigh Stamp, a clinical fellow in the School, who has been working with patients to deliver feedback on dental student performance in clinical examinations; Enhancing Communication and Professionalism; aligning learner and patient feedback priorities

Finally Zoe Freeman, another of our clinical fellows,  gave an oral presentation on her work developing an instrument for gathering patient feedback on the undergraduate clinical programme. This work was supported by an ERDP grant and is now coming to fruition with the instrument being used for the first pilot at the end of last academic year (Obtaining patient feedback for quality assurance of Undergraduate Dental Teaching).

As well as having the opportunity to present research the meeting provided a superb opportunity to establish collaborations and network with colleagues from around the globe. We are now looking forward to increasing Newcastle’s representation at this annual conference as it moves to Vancouver in 2019.

Conference presentation: Dentists’ experiences of treatment and referral for patients with obesity

Andrew Geddis-Regan and Rebecca Wassall presented ‘Dentists’ experiences of treatment and referral for patients with obesity’ at the 24th International Association for Disability and Oral Health congress in August.


Objectives: The prevalence of obesity is increasing yet dental treatment provision for patients with obesity can be challenging. Obesity can prevent patients from accessing healthcare services as many treatment facilities cannot accommodate individuals of greater weight, particularly those whose weight exceeds that of a typical dental chair. Patients are sometimes referred to hospital settings or clinics with bariatric chairs yet the availability of these is variable. This study aimed to explore the perceptions and experiences of dentists involved in the care or referral of patient with obesity to highlight any barriers to optimal care provision for this patient group.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with dentists who had either referred or treated patients with obesity. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic analysis and a constant comparative approach.

Results: Dentists expressed consistent challenges in treating patients with obesity. Six themes arose from the data: awareness of the challenges of obesity, difficulties broaching the topic with patients, challenges in determination of weight, safety concerns and equipment limitations, problems in provision of emergency care, and unclear referral pathways for patients with obesity. From becoming aware patients had obesity to the process of referral or treatment, a complex array of discussions and processes had to be navigated which was perceived to be uncomfortable and unnecessary complex.

Conclusions: Dentists require guidance on how to discuss obesity with patients. There needs to be a clear, patient-centred pathway by which treatment can be provided in appropriate settings for patients with obesity

Andrew R Geddis Regan, Rebecca R Wassall (School of Dental Science)

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

Kathy Wilson presented ‘Meeting the needs of patients with disabilities – how can we better prepare the new dental graduate?’ at the 24th International Association for Disability and Oral Health congress in August.


Background: The dental profession has a social responsibility to provide equitable oral health care for all. This is recognised in the UK, General Dental Council document ‘Preparing for Practice’, which states “…registrants must be able to recognise the needs of all patients, including those with special care requirements”. This raises the question, are we adequately preparing future dental professionals to fulfil their obligations?

Aim: To explore final year dental students’ insight into issues of disability. Research Questions: What are students’ perceptions of their preparedness to meet the needs of patients with disabilities? What has influenced this sense of preparedness?

Method: Two focus groups were employed to address the research questions. Sixteen final year dental students, attending Newcastle School of Dental Sciences participated. The transcriptions were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results: Four themes were identified; ‘perceptions of disability’, ‘experience of disability’, ‘patient management’ and ‘teaching and learning’. Exploring the themes further, it became apparent that levels of preparedness and self-efficacy varied among students. This variation could be attributed to, knowledge of disability issues, previous experience with people with disabilities and how education in SCD was delivered. Students identified the need for more structure to their teaching and increased exposure to the disabled community. Conclusion: The issues identified reflect current literature and highlight the importance of addressing disability within the wider undergraduate curriculum. Responding to the ‘student  voice’ has the potential to tailor elements of the Special Care Dentistry programme, to address their educational needs.


Kathy Wilson, Richard Holmes, Kate Bird (School of Dental Science),

Laura Delgaty (School of Medical Education)



BERA conference presentation

Sarah Fardin, BMS graduate, presented on behalf of the NUAGE team at the BERA national conference in July. Her talk was titled: The value of student engagement in an innovative module about ageing – an undergraduate student’s perspective.


Student engagement in higher education has gained high profile attention due to its positive impact on learning and teaching (1). In particular, the concept of ‘student as partners’ is a development which has allowed engagement to be viewed as an active and reciprocal relationship rather than tokenistic process. Newcastle University Ageing Generations Education (NUAGE) is a module created to address the lack of gerontology education afforded to the majority of undergraduate (UG) students (2). In order to demonstrate the relevance of ageing as a societal challenge, this multidisciplinary module is open to all undergraduates and engages students and older adults in its design and delivery.

Student partners, working as paid interns, have been actively engaged in NUAGE from inception. At the design stage interns representing each of three university faculties were recruited to join a team of staff and members of the public to develop a module curriculum. The module is optional and supernumerary and thus its success largely depends on its appeal to the student body. Student interns led a learning needs analysis by administering a questionnaire and convening discussion groups with their peers. 408 responses from UGs across the university and three discussion groups afforded insight into students’ motivation for undertaking a module about ageing, guided the choice of topics included in the curriculum, and the teaching methods selected.

The module was piloted in 2014 and a student-focussed approach to evaluation meant that adaptations were made to the module to better suit future cohorts. Questionnaires and feedback forms may be viewed as less active forms of student engagement, as they are consultations and there is no obligation to make the suggested changes (3). At each stage of NUAGE, student feedback has been gathered and acted upon. For example, students expressed a preference for more frequent opportunities for informal interaction with older adults and the timetable was adapted by allocating additional time before and after lectures.

In contrast to feedback questionnaires, internships are considered to be a higher impact learning activity for students (3). During the design and development of NUAGE over three years, thirteen interns have been employed, undertaking a diverse range of projects. Interns are encouraged to focus on activities that best suit their own learning needs, but this invariably leads to the reciprocal application of interns’ knowledge to improve the module. Interns recruited from a range of degree programmes, stages of study, and nationality have been recruited and have offered their unique experiences and attitudes to learning. Working with student interns as partners has not only strengthened the appeal of the NUAGE module to the wider student body but has also ensured its ongoing improvement driven by student preference.

The first-hand experience of one student who participated in the NUAGE module, and then progressed to work as an intern alongside staff has provided a unique insight into one trajectory of student engagement. This student has testified as to the module activities that most engaged her as a participant, and how her progression to internship afforded her insight into the needs of subsequent students. This student intern is now focussing on creating a video about the NUAGE module to act as both a recruitment and dissemination tool. Her own experience of undertaking the module means that she is now uniquely qualified to judge how the video may be designed and produced to appeal to students. Student internships traditionally offer experience in a workplace but rarely afford students the opportunity to directly alter the working environment for the better. NUAGE internships are innovative in that each intern is engaged in visible and positive changes.

In summary, working with students as partners has been integral to the successful design and development of the NUAGE module. The module offers an effective illustration of students as more than passive consumers of knowledge, rather as active agents in their own learning environment.

Trowler V (2010). Student engagement literature review. The Higher Education Academy: York. Available at: 1.

Tullo E, Greaves G, Wakeling L (2016). Involving older people in the design, development and delivery of an innovative module on aging for undergraduate students. Educ Gerontol 42(10): 698-705 2.

Healey M, Flint A, Harrington K (2014). Engagement through partnership: students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education. The Higher Education Academy: York. Available at:

ERDP Development Grant: Think Tank event

A Think Tank was set up on 10 July 2018 to discuss the topic ‘How can education and training of the healthcare team involve, reach and benefit patients?’ The Day was set up in honour of our eminent colleague Professor Karen Mann, who passed away in November 2016.

The purpose of the Think Tank was to spend a day exploring this question, inform our own curriculum, produce an editorial and support ongoing research. The nine themes related to this question were identified by Prof Dornan, who conducted a thematic analysis of Karen’s work. The topic was chosen as it linked to a major four-year study funded by the Department of Health and led by Prof Jan Illing. Prof Mann was an external consultant on the study.

The day involved participants being allocated to one of nine small groups. Nine national and international facilitators hosted a question for discussion. Each question was discussed in the small groups and each facilitator fed back to the Think Tank at the end. In addition Prof Kevin Eva, Editor-in-chief of Medical Education, gave a plenary focus on Why do we need to consider patients more in medical education?

The feedback received on the day and since has been amazing! Attendees have commented that it was the best event they had attended for several years. Others said how they intend to take (and already have taken) some of the ideas forward. The students were particularly blown away by meeting the actual people they were referencing in their work!

The Think Tank contained patients, patient representatives, Public and Patient Involvement reps., undergraduate and postgraduate medical students, doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists, undergraduate and postgraduate educators, members from the General Medical Council and Health Education England, academics and researchers from UK Universities (Durham, Edinburgh, Exeter, Keele, Lancaster, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Northumbria, Queens Belfast, Sheffield, Southampton, Sunderland, Warwick, York and UCLA and North East and London NHS Trusts. International delegates came from RCS Ireland, NUMed Malaysia, Harvard US, Calgary and Dalhousie’s Canada, Utrecht The Netherlands, Taipei Taiwan and Griffiths Australia.

We are grateful to ERDP for providing £1000 to support free places for staff and students to attend.

Prof Jan Illing, School of Medical Education

Publications Autumn 2018

Congratulations to everyone in the Faculty who has published their research this quarter. If anything is missing let us know.


Anyiam O, Ware V, McKenna M, Hanley J, Junior doctor teaching delivered by near peers. Clinical Teacher.


Guilding C, Hardisty J, Randles E, Statham L, Green A, Bhudia R, Thandi CS, Matthan J, Making it work: the feasibility and logistics of delivering large-scale interprofessional education to undergraduate healthcare students in a conference format. Journal of Interprofessional Care.


Hester KLM, Newton J, Rapley T, Ryan V, De Soyza A, Information and education provision in bronchiectasis: co-development and evaluation of a novel patient-driven resource in a digital era. European Respiratory Journal.


McGeown S, St Clair-Thompson H, Putwain DW, The Development and Validation of a Mental Toughness Scale for Adolescents. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment .


Steven A, Larkin V, Stewart J, Bateman B, The value of continuing professional development: a realistic evaluation of a multi-disciplinary workshop for Health Visitors dealing with children with complex need. Nurse Education Today.


Claire F. Smith, Gabrielle M. Finn, Catherine Hennessy, Ciara Luscombe, Jane Stewart, Stephen McHanwell, The initial impact of the Anatomical Society gross anatomy core syllabus for medicine in the United Kingdom: Student and staff perspectives. . Anatomical Sciences Education, in the press.


Guilding C, Hardisty J, Statham L, Randles E, Green A, Scott L, Bhudia R, Thandi C and J Matthan, Making it work: The feasibility and logistics of delivering large-scale interprofessional education to undergraduate healthcare students in a conference format. . Journal of Interprofessional Care.


Book Chapter

Patterson, J. and McHanwell, S, The physiology of swallowing.. Scott Brown’s Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery. Eighth Edition. Edited by JC Watkinson and RW Clarke. CRC Press (Taylor and Francis Group)..


Matthan J & V Paleri., Chapter 47: Anatomy of the Pharynx and Oesophagus. . Scott Brown’s Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery. Eighth Edition. Edited by JC Watkinson and RW Clarke. CRC Press (Taylor and Francis Group)..



McHanwell, S and Robson, S., Guiding Principles for Teaching Promotions. . York: Higher Education Academy will be available at AHE website in the near future.



Public Health England commission embedding physical activity in the undergraduate curriculum

You will recall that some months ago we had a seminar from Ann Gates and Professor Ian Ritchie on the importance of embedding physical activity education in healthcare curricula because of the risks to health posed by inactivity (

At the time of giving the seminar, the final reports were in preparation.  We have now received those reports from Ann Gates. If you would like a copy please get in touch with

Promoting Teaching Revisited

In 2012-2013 Newcastle was part of an international four centre HEA-funded project called Promoting Teaching.  With Sue Robson I was one of the two Newcastle leads for this project which was carried out in collaboration with the University of Leicester and, in Australia, with the Universities of Tasmania and Wollongong.  The aim of this project was to produce a set of resources to support universities wishing to review their promotions processes in relation to the reward and recognition of teaching.  Alongside this the project team also produced a document called Making Evidence Count which was a guide to how to evidence teaching for purposes of supporting a promotions or award application.  The completed materials were delivered to the HEA in 2013 and Making Evidence Count in particular has become a widely used document.

However, since the original project was completed the HEA had commissioned a number of reports on various aspects of reward and recognition in teaching.  This has included reviews of teaching excellence (Gunn and Fisk, 2013), scholarship of learning (Fanghanel et al, 2016) and teaching and education leadership (Fung and Gordon, 2016) as well as studies on the changes in the composition of the academic workforce (Locke, 2014 and Locke et al 2016).  Alongside there has been something of a growth in the HE literature in this area over this period.  As part of a relaunch of Promoting Teaching Sue Robson and I were commissioned by HEA/AHE to review developments in the field and integrate those with the HEA commissioned reports since 2013 to update our Promoting Teaching report.  The paper was presented at a launch event at the AHE in York on July 23rd this year.

The seminar consisted of presentations from Sandra Wills, PVC(T) at Charles Sturt University, Australia describing the work that she had led developing a standards framework for academic activity and academic promotion.  Sandra was one of the Promoting Teaching project leads at Wollongong.  We also had a presentation from Claire Goudy, Director of Education Planning at UCL, London describing the new Academic Careers Framework that has been developed and is in the process of being implemented at UCL.  In both cases an initial drive to refine promotions process led to a more substantive review of academic career structures.

Following the presentation of these three papers the afternoon consisted of an extended and wide-ranging discussion of their wider implications from which four clear themes emerged.  Given the breadth of these discussions it is not possible to do them full justice here but the four themes can be summarised as follows.  The first was how do we recognise teaching related activities and outputs fully especially at higher grades and should that recognition link to UKPSF.  The second theme was how to address the need for parity of criteria of teaching in promotion routes to Chair including the recognition of the importance of education leadership in a career profile.  The third theme concerned the need to view TEF and REF more holistically and included a discussion of the place of pedagogical research in promotion and in the REF.  The final theme focussed around the need for promotion committee members and heads of academic units or schools to understand the nature of teaching evidencing so that they can better assess promotions applications where teaching is a component of the case being made for advancement.

AHE will be placing the materials from the seminar on the web, we had hoped this would already have been done.  In the meantime I am happy to send a pdf copy of the Guiding Principles paper that Sue Robson and I wrote for the AHE.  The other reports that I identified above can all be found on the Advance HE website

Steve McHanwell, Medical Education

Conference report: British Voice Association Conference

British Voice Association Conference

Glottal Start: laryngeal science into practice

9th September 2018, Baden-Powell Centre, London

The British Voice Association is a network that brings together professional voice users, healthcare professionals including speech and language therapists and ENT specialists, singing teachers and students in all these areas.  Among its aims are the sharing of best practice in the area of pedagogies to support singing teachers and voice coaches in the work with professional singers and actors with voice problems.  One issue that is emerging in this area is the value that could be gained from encouraging singing teachers and voice coaches to acquire a fuller knowledge of the basic science underpinning voice and the production of speech and song.

This conference was organised to provide updates in key areas of normal and abnormal laryngeal physiology for members of the Voice Association.  I was invited, with my collaborators from Complutense University, Madrid, Professor Jose Ramon Sanudo and Dr Teresa Vazquez to provide a basic introduction at a broadly undergraduate level to laryngeal structure and function as well as highlighting some of the key recent developments in our understanding.

The multidisciplinary composition of the audience provide a stimulating environment.  The meeting was of interest to me personally not least because currently I am co-supervising with Professor David Clarke in Music an M LItt student who is working precisely in this area.  As the work develops we will describe its main outcomes most probably in the form of a seminar later next year.

Steve McHanwell, Director ERDP

ULTSEC Innovation Fund: Student-staff partnerships in curriculum review and development

Dr Alessio Iannetti, Teaching Fellow in the School of Pharmacy was recently awarded ULTSEC Innovation Funding.  Here he explains the work that funding is supporting.

At the School of Pharmacy we are currently undertaking the exercise of mapping our integrated curriculum at the level of learning outcomes, using the Matchware Mindview software provided by NUIT. Academics are working with the Degree Programme Director, Dr Hamde Nazar, within their discipline groups (Pharmacology, Chemistry, Pharmacy Practice and Pharmaceutics), to create master concept maps of the Stages.

In Stages 2-4 of the programme, the teaching is orientated around the body systems, e.g. gastro-intestinal, cardiovascular, etc. These provide conceptual hooks to integrate the knowledge from the different disciplines. This process is clarifying how and what we teach, identifying discrepancies and gaps but also opportunities for collaboration of academics towards coherent teaching.

Dr Hamde Nazar and I have proposed to engage students in this process of curriculum review. We are recruiting students to undertake a similar process by developing a concept map for the last academic year they have progressed from.

Students will develop concept maps around the same identified systems covered in that Stage, independently. This will provide the academic team the student perspective of the teaching and learning experience, similarly identifying gaps, discrepancies but also areas of successful integration and knowledge development.

We will compare the maps created by students and staff to find points of congruence and incongruence. The comparison will identify aspects that will need to be reinforced, changed or cancelled, leading to the optimisation and improvement of programme content and incorporating the student perspective in it.

In summary, we aim to develop a student-staff relationship towards improving the student learning experience.

In this pilot project, we are recruiting three Stage 3 students to review and map the three systems of Stage 2 (Gastro-intestinal, respiratory and cardiovascular). If this pilot project is successful, we will plan to apply for further funds to extend the mapping to the whole curriculum and to establish a strategy to make sure that this practice is built into the programme review.

This project could potentially provide a model for other schools and subject areas.

Dr Alessio Iannetti, Teaching Fellow at the School of Pharmacy