Public seminars

The Learning Institute has a regular public seminar programme on higher education each term. The seminars are open to everyone and there is no need to book in advance.

Seminars take place on Thursdays of weeks 1, 3, 5 and 7 of each term, and are held in the seminar room on level 2 of Littlegate House, St Ebbe's Street. Beginning in Michealmas 2015, seminars will run from 4.00pm to 5.00pm

If you would like to be added to the research seminar mailing list, please contact us on research or (01865) 2-86811.

View the archive of previous seminars run for the previous 2 years. 

Hilary Term 2016

The speakers for Hilary Term 2016 are:

Dr Corinne Boz (Anglia Ruskin University)

Week 1 - Thursday 21 January 2016

Early career researchers and scholarly writing identities: the role of community

This talk draws upon evidence gathered from the process of designing, piloting and researching a writing program for early career social scientists and humanists that focused on developing their identities as writers. In contrast to mainstream provision for early career researchers which tends to be ‘skills’ and ‘product’ focused, the scholarly writing program offered an extended and dedicated space for developing writing practices where individual goals were defined and achieved through an iterative process of collaboration, feedback and development work. As well as an exploration of the program elements and their significance, an examination of the data gathered throughout the process will be used to highlight the participants’ perceptions of their own scholarly identity at defined points during the program. Through consideration of the narratives gathered from participants, focus will be placed upon the significance of writing groups and community in the development of scholarly writing practices as well as attention given to the ways in which emotion is enacted and experienced during the writing process.

Dr Jackie Douglas (Liverpool John Moores University)

Week 3 - Thursday 4 February 2016

Student satisfaction and dissatisfaction in Higher Education: CIT reveals unique determinants

In 2008 and 2014, the author explored the use of Critical Incident Technique in Higher Education and discovered a number of critical determinants of quality for students, namely, Access; Attentiveness; Availability; and Communication and a number of new determinants unique to HE, namely, motivation, reward, social inclusion, usefulness, value for money and fellow student behaviour. More recently, a study of fellow student behaviour was undertaken in Scotland, which found that from a student’s point of view, disruptive behaviour in the classroom could impact on learning. Such behaviours include, arriving late, talking in class, and use of mobile telephones. It is the aim of this talk to explore how CIT was used in the HE context and the resulting findings.

CIT is a method that has proven attractive to qualitative researchers in a number of areas as a data collection and analysis method, e.g. banking, hotels, and airlines. However it cannot yet be classed as mainstream because more traditional methods are still more popular in many sectors. CIT allows respondents to freely describe their experiences and unreservedly express their feelings without being constrained to specific areas. As the study demonstrates, this then gives an opportunity for unexpected or unpredictable answers.

Prof Gail Kinman (University of Bedfordshire)

Week 5 - Thursday 18 February 2016

Doing more with less: work and wellbeing in the UK academy

Research conducted in several countries has found rising levels of work-related stress and mental health problems among academics.  Conflict between work and personal life is also growing which, over the long term, can hinder recovery from work demands and impair job satisfaction and health.  Despite the intensification and diversification of the academic role and their negative implications for wellbeing, there is evidence that academics continue to be deeply involved in their work and gain considerable satisfaction from it. This talk draws on my continuing research that has examined the wellbeing of academic employees in the UK over the last decade or so. I will discuss the factors that underpin health, satisfaction and work-life balance in the sector, outline changes in levels of stressors and strains over time, and explore the role played by individual difference factors such as commitment to the job role and work-life boundary management. The value of utilising a benchmarking approach in order to monitor the wellbeing of the sector will be emphasised, as will the need to draw on models of job-related wellbeing that are firmly grounded in the context of academic work. The implications of the findings for the development of interventions at the individual, the institutional and the sector level to protect the wellbeing of academic staff and enhance the student experience will be considered.  

Dr Kate Hoskins (University of Roehampton)

Week 7 - Thursday 3 March 2016

Women and success: Professors in the UK academy

This paper draws on life history interviews with twenty women professors working in the social and natural sciences. The majority of these pioneers feel they have paid a high price for their career success and this price is linked to their gender and social class background. In this paper I explore the career support that these women cited as important for their progression within the academy. I examine the important role of sponsors, mentors and opportunities for networking in the women’s career progression. I also consider the influence of the women’s class background and gender in shaping their academic career trajectories and particularly how these aspects of identity facilitate the tactics of success such as gaining sponsorship or mentoring.