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Celebrating WIHEA Fellows promotions

Congratulations to the colleagues who have successfully applied for promotion, following the introduction of new academic promotion criteria in 2018.

WIHEA Fellows are recruited annually, and are selected from the nominations based on their educational leadership, so it is no surprise that 16 academic WIHEA Fellows were among those recognised.

These are the stories of success in this rather special promotion round, from successful WIHEA Fellows.

Meet those promoted:
Dr Philip Young (Life Sciences) has been promoted to Associate Professor. Philip has been responsible for driving pedagogical change and managing the SLS UG degrees in his role as Director of Undergraduate Studies. Philip regards as one of his proudest achievements a leadership role that followed from a discussion at a WIHEA Fellows lunch. As Chair of a Review of Assessment work stream he has proposed a number of changes intended to improve the learning environment for all UG students at Warwick. Philip was also recognised for driving research led teaching in the School of Life Sciences. His own publications are used to inform the work of the National Screening Committee review of SMA screening and work co-published with undergraduate students is anticipated to have a direct translational impact with the potential to change how we clinically manage children with SMA in the UK in future.
Dr Dave Wood (Mathematics Institute) has been promoted to Reader. Dave has been responsible for development and looking after the academic interests of the students in Mathematics as Director of Undergraduate Studies in the department for a number of years, as well as tirelessly doing his bit for the Science Faculty on numerous committees and working groups and being a WIHEA Foundation Fellow. In addition to being an advocate for more traditional lecture theatre teaching on blackboards, he has also pursued more innovative approaches with the development of a Maths Department Second Life Island, and with support from IATL, funding a project on Abstraction In Open Spaces along with a novel module, Virtual Mathematics, exploring the dissemination of mathematics online.
Dr Elke Thonnes (Statistics) has been promoted to Reader recognising continued leadership in learning and teaching. Elke was responsible for the introduction of employability skills training into the Statistics curriculum with particular focus on teamwork in international student teams, work that was enabled through funding provided via a WIHEA student engagement project. She also developed a bridging module to ease student transition into university and again some of this work was supported by a WIHEA student engagement project. A further achievement that stood out was the re-development of the small group teaching programme delivered to undergraduates by Statistics PhD students.
Dr Caterina Sinibaldi (SMLC) has been promoted to Senior Teaching Fellow. Her pedagogic research and innovation are at the heart of her teaching philosophy, and Catarina enjoys publishing her own work. Catarina was awarded IATL funding to establish a partnership with the Università degli studi internazionali in Rome, a leading Italian university for Translation and Interpreting Studies. She developed a project consisting in the creation of a bilingual English-Italian blog and co-created the blog with Warwick students as web managers of the platform.
Dr Karen Simecek (Philosophy) has been promoted to Associate Professor through the Teaching track. Karen focused her application on her contributions to assessment and feedback, which included the introduction of alternative assessment methods (video presentation, group bibliographic project and reflective assignment), which were well received by students. Karen also took a lead on improving assessment and feedback within the department more broadly by writing a detailed marking criteria and influencing the quality of feedback given by redesigning the feedback form, both of which are now used across the department. Karen enjoys hugely positive student recognition within her department both as a teacher and Director of Student Experience.

Dr Sarah Richardson (History) has been promoted to Professor. Sarah Richardson’s research on gender and political culture in nineteenth century Britain has been at the forefront of challenging the paradigm of women’s passivity in (or even exclusion from) the public sphere. Her work has clear resonance for political citizenship today hence she is regularly on TV and radio discussing the historical context to contemporary political issues. In 2018 her research underpinned a major exhibition at the Houses of Parliament: Voice and Vote: Women’s Place in Parliament which had over 100,000 visitors. She has a high international profile in the teaching of History at HE having led the HEA History Subject Centre for a number of years. She is a PFHEA, NTF, WATE winner and foundation WIHEA fellow and is currently leading education strategy in the Faculty of Arts as Chair of the Faculty Education Committee.

Since her promotion, Sarah has also won an honorary fellowship of the Historical Association in recognition of her outstanding contribution to History.

Dr Lydia Plath (History) has been promoted to Associate Professor. Lydia’s application was based on strength across all four areas, putting teaching at the centre of her claim. Key achievements under teaching are Lydia’s mentoring and leadership of others, both as an SFHEA mentor and an external examiner. Lydia is also responsible for History’s module feedback policy and supporting staff in responding to students’ comments. Lydia also has a national profile in supporting pedagogy in the field of American Studies, whilst at Warwick she is one of the Faculty Student Engagement Coordinators, promoting greater student engagement.
Dr Meleisa Ono-George (History) has been promoted to Associate Professor. At the core of her argument for teaching excellence stood her contribution to the educational development of staff around the Black attainment gap and anti-racist pedagogy. Meleisa’s work with students in the IATL funded project History in Practice Project was also key and involved working with students and community partners in the development of a public history module. Meleisa’s working is well known at Warwick but also nationally.
Dr Debbi Marais (WMS) has been promoted to Reader. Debbi was able to evidence sustained educational expertise in raising awareness and developing strategies to enhance the employability of postgraduate students through innovative work-based placements and enhancing self-development. Her impact in this area has grown over the past few years culminating in being able to contextualise and improve practice here at Warwick. Debbi’s strong publication record evidences engagement across disciplines, covering both public health and pedagogical fields.
Dr Georgia Kremmyda (Engineering) has been promoted to Professor principally on the grounds of extensive curriculum development and leadership in teaching, supported by excellence and innovation her own teaching and pedagogical research. Within Warwick Georgia has led the development of innovative programmes of strategic importance; Humanitarian Engineering, the Civil Engineering Degree Apprenticeship, double degrees with international partner HEI and a curriculum refresh in Civil Engineering. As Director of Admissions she transformed how the School of Engineering engages and attracts the best possible applicants. Georgia is also the lead of multi-million pedagogical research, funded externally by the European Commission (Erasmus+ Building Capacity), Royal Academy of Engineering and Higher Education Funding Council of England. Externally, Georgia is a panel chair at Advance HE's Athena Swan Charter, elected Council Member of Women's Engineering Society UK and elected Board Director of the International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists.
Graeme Knowles (WMG) is now a Reader, recognised for a broad range of impact including key aspects such as the development of staff on learning and teaching, creating a strategic focus on developing pedagogy through the development of the Pedagogy Interest Group, and latterly founding and leading WMG’s Education Innovation Group - a focused resource (5 full-time and 1 part time staff) combining educational research, learning design and staff development in both digital and face-to-face environments in order to transform the student experience and approach to Learning and Teaching within WMG.
Dr Russ Kitson (Chemistry) enjoys promotion to Associate Professor. This was largely due to his work and pedagogical research around transforming laboratory learning, employability and transferrable skills through a research collaboration with Prof. Tina Overton and Dr Chris Thompson of Monash. The team was funded by the Monash-Warwick Education Alliance and also WIHEA. Russ made sure to mention that ‘I am very grateful for the opportunities, networks, support and the platform that being a WIHEA fellow has given me.’ Russ is a well published academic, with recognition both for his research and his teaching.
Dr Miriam Gifford (Life Sciences) has been promoted to Reader in recognition of achievements in both teaching and research. Miriam’s particular interest is in the use of technology in learning, in particular to enable adoption of interdisciplinary approaches. In my 2016 IATL funded “e-tutorial” academic fellowship I led a team of tutors who developed a suite of e-resource research-led sessions for year 2 UG tutorials with new and varied assessment methods; this approach continues to proliferate across new tutors in Life Sciences today.

Dr Will Curtis (CLL / Academic Director of Partnerships) has been promoted to Professor. Will is a National Teaching Fellow (2011) and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2018). Prior to coming to Warwick in 2012, Will was Discipline Lead for Education at the Higher Education Academy. He has written five books on education and is currently completing a sixth – ‘Reinventing Education: Visions for today and tomorrow’. Before joining the Education Executive, Will was Academic Director in CLL, leading the development of flexible and alternative provision. As Academic Director for Partnerships, he is responsible for the University’s collaborative provision, ranging from dual, double and joint awards, franchised and validated provision, Degree Apprenticeships and exchange programmes. In 2018, he was appointed Quality Reviewer for the Quality Assurance Agency.
Dr Nikola Chmel (Chemistry) has been promoted to Associate Professor. He has been recognised for his work as Head of PGT in Chemistry, working on improvements of the PGT provision and PTES scores. Nikola has also worked on the creation of level 7 degree apprenticeship standards for Research Scientists collaborating with other universities and representatives from the industry. On top of that, Nikola provides leadership for the Postgraduate Certificate in Transferable Skills in Science providing skills training to the PGR students in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Medicine.
Dr Jane Bryan (Law) has been promoted to Reader. Jane is currently nominated and shortlisted for ‘Law Teacher of the Year’ and has an outstanding leadership in teaching profile. Some key achievements include her role as a Faculty Student Engagement Coordinator, co-chair of the Peer Observation Learning Circle, member of the WIHEA-funded Student Research project team that created an online resource for all Warwick students, as well as leadership of two Student Engagement Research Projects (on student-to-staff feedback and on lecture capture). These latter projects positioned Jane to lead on changes within her own department to the benefit of students.

New promotion criteria: what’s changed?

Professor Christine Ennew (Provost) and colleagues reviewed our academic promotions process, considering staff feedback and practice elsewhere in the sector, as part of Warwick's commitment to build a culture of parity of esteem for teaching and research across the institution.

The new criteria were introduced in summer 2018, after approval from Senate.

On being part of the group reviewing the promotions criteria, Professor Gwen van der Velden, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Student Learning Experience) said:

The biggest changes we made related to the criteria for teaching, supporting academic colleagues on the teaching as well as the combined teaching and research track. The new criteria recognise contributions made to learning and teaching through leadership on the student learning experience, curriculum development, teaching enhancement and other aspects. In the past the emphasis was on scholarly activity in learning and teaching, leaving colleagues who led and enhanced teaching challenged to progress their careers. This has now considerably changed.

What informed our work on this was the effort undertaken by WIHEA Fellows who reviewed academic literature on recognition of teaching, undertook comparisons with peer institutions, consulted widely and proposed specific changes. Their work allowed us to redraft our criteria, based on solid evidence and consideration.

Inaugural lectures

As always, working with their home departments, WIHEA will offer Fellows who are promoted to Professor the chance to give an Inaugural Lecture.

Academic Promotions Event

Considering applying for academic promotion, or supporting a colleague in doing so? Come along to an event on Tuesday 21 May 2019 to learn more about the promotions process. Find out more and register.

Education Strategy

Our Education Strategy has been developed in consultation with staff and students across the University to ensure an excellent educational experience for our students, and to consolidate and enhance our existing strengths in teaching and learning.

See the goals of the Education Strategy and the ways in which we will be working to achieve them.