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WIHEA Seminar: Critical reflection on organisational practice at a UK University through scholarship of teaching and learning: Measuring Impact

Paul Taylor

Presented by Professor Paul Taylor, Professor of Chemical Education & Director of Student Education, University of Leeds

Internationally, the "Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SoTL)” concept is becoming increasingly prominent. Drawing on Vince & Reynolds' framework for 'Organising Reflective Practice' (2010), we explored how SoTL can provide a language for critical reflection at institutional level, including 'Organising Reflection', 'Public Reflection' and 'Productive Reflection’. Brief critical accounts were given of how the Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence (LITE) is “organising reflection” across the University of Leeds and how collaborative writing groups can support “public reflection”. Support networks for colleagues engaged in teaching scholarship were also discussed.

"Productive reflection" in our context encourages us to see all the participants in our University as potentially productive agents and to seek to understand their meaningful impact on the world beyond their institution. Undergraduate research is a distinctive feature of both Leeds and Warwick Universities, among others. Yet there is little evidence of the “meaningful” impact of such activities. The final part of the paper presented new research that starts to explore how “high impact experiences” such as undergraduate research affect the world beyond the University and solicited suggestions from participants on developing these ideas.

Professor Paul Taylor is the Pro Dean for Student Education in the Mathematics and Physical Sciences Faculty at the University of Leeds. Paul’s main pedagogic activities concern undergraduate research, in particular opportunities for undergraduates to disseminate their findings through undergraduate journals and conferences. Paul is proud to be part of the team that will host the British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR) in Leeds in 2020.

Paul is also exploring ways of bringing research to a wide audience through on-line digital learning and has a long-standing interest in student engagement and partnership working. Paul’s scientific research interests are in cancer research, including new therapies and new models of cancer stem cells.