Academics as Changemakers: Addressing Challenges in HE Teaching Contexts (Issue 1, 2019)

Edited by Shirley Bennett and Ming Nie

About this publication

This publication presents 10 case studies developed by academic staff taking part in the Professional Recognition and Scholarship module (EDUM127) of the University of Northampton Post-Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP).

The module enables staff to build on their achievement of FHEA or SFHEA with deeper critical engagement with relevant literature for the award of Level 7 academic credit, towards achievement of the PGCAP. However, the module aimed to do more and to ensure a practice-based focus, both of personal relevance and aligned to university priorities and needs. The University of Northampton is a Changemaker Campus, and the module supported teaching and support staff to themselves be Changemakers, within the classroom and online learning communities on their own courses and programmes. Participants adopted a Changemaker lens to identify problems impacting the student experience and achievement on their courses and from this exploration, three themes emerged:

  • Theme 1: Enhancing student engagement within different learning communities (Nick Naumov, Clare Mackay and Umair Tanveer)
  • Theme 2: Engaging positively with the diversity within student groups (Sam Read, Louise Atkinson, Tolulope Eboka)
  • Theme 3: Student responsibility for learning and professional employability imperatives (Jane Mills, Lisa Shepherd, Michael Opoku Aygeman, Deborah Hewson)

Drawing inspiration from the UoN Changemaker Hub, a blend of academic and design-thinking strategies invited participants to explore their own and their students’ perspectives on their identified issue, and to support each other to develop ideas for practical interventions they could try out to tackle the challenges experienced. Collaboration through direct observation by peers, reflection in the light of literature, and working as supportive communities through ‘reading circles’ supported shared learning and recommendations for the future.

The challenges these staff chose to address are not theirs alone. We are confident that you will recognise within these Case Studies problems that you too grapple with within your own courses and learning and teaching communities.

We invite you to explore the Case Studies below, providing summaries of the course-based problems faced and challenges addressed, the strategies adopted, and the recommendations emerging.

Theme 1: Enhancing student engagement in learning activities

‘To do or not to do’: Student (non-) engagement with Active Blended Learning. Case Study from Innovation in Tourism & Hospitality Management and Leading Service Quality in Hospitality
Nick Naumov, Senior Lecturer in Hospitality & Tourism Management, FBL, UoN

Mitigating Disruptive Behaviour in the Classroom. Case Study from Level 5 Research Methods for Marketing and Events
Clare Mackay, Lecturer in Events Management, Bristol Business School, University of West of England

How does Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL) assist students with learning disabilities? Case Study from undergraduate and postgraduate courses in FBL
Umair Tanveer, Senior Lecturer in Supply Chain, FBL, UoN

Theme 2: Engaging positively with diversity within student groups

Fostering engagement in assessed group work with diverse cohorts. Case study from Introduction to Marketing Communications (MKT1002)
Samantha Read, Lecturer in Marketing, FBL, UoN

Developing critical thinking skills within an academically and culturally diverse student population. Case study from The Business Environment (BUS1001)
Louise Atkinson, Senior Lecturer in Business, FBL, UoN

Fostering student engagement with diverse cohorts: A case study of BAME undergraduate students
Tolulope Eboka, Associate Lecturer in Foundation Study Framework, FAST, UoN

Theme 3: Balancing professional imperatives with student responsibility for learning

If I’m such a great teacher, why don’t my students engage with the ethical issues facing the profession? Case Study from Fashion and Textiles
Jane Mills, Senior Lecturer in Fashion, FAST, UoN

If you pardon, we will mend: An exploration into students’ engagement in arts-infused practice as preparation for work with children. Case Study from Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Inclusion
Lisa Shepherd, Senior Lecturer in Education, FEH, UoN

Enhancing student engagement in multidisciplinary groups in Higher Education: A case study of a module taken by Computer Science, Electrical and Electronics Engineering and Mechatronics Engineering students at University of Northampton
Michael Opoku Agyeman, Senior Lecturer in Computing, FAST, UoN

Developing the critical thinking skills of Occupational Therapy students: A case study from Occupational Therapy
Deborah Hewson, Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, FHS, UoN