National Teaching Fellowship
The Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellowship scheme is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, and the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland, and is open to staff whose roles support the student learning experience at institutions in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. For more information on the Academy visit: http://www.heacademy.ac.uk
Our previous National Teaching Fellows
National Teaching Fellow 2014 – Professor Derek Connon
Derek started at Swansea in 1989, and has taught on a range of modules devoted to French literature and culture, from the 17th to the 20th centuries in all literary genres, but with particular emphasis on his specialism in drama. Derek has taught classes on the French language, with a particular interest in translation, and has contributed to the development of translation studies more broadly. He has also contributed lectures on cinema, music and art. After serving for a number of years as the French Editor, Derek is the General Editor of the Modern Language Review, and is also a trustee of the Modern Humanities Research Association.
Derek has instituted numerous improvements to teaching practices and methodology, both through his individual contribution and in the examples he sets for others. His teaching embraces a vocational ethos which stresses professional requirements and ways of working. Though primarily designed for intending translators, these modules have proved enduringly popular with undergraduates more generally because of the real-world challenges they pose, and the self-assurance that students acquire in their linguistic skills and decision-making abilities. Derek has also been inventive in finding new ways of passing on to students his enthusiasm and breadth of research-based knowledge about French culture; he combines music, art, film, philosophy and literary analysis in interactive classes which leave students feeling intellectually empowered.
Derek has been a key driver of pedagogic enhancement at Swansea University, both within his own area of Modern Languages and across the institution as a whole. He is a long-standing member of the University’s Learning and Teaching Committee, and its Regulations, Quality and Standards Committee, and is a member of the University’s Senate and Court. Derek is the University’s Dean of Undergraduate Students, and Chairs both the Academic Board (Undergraduate) and the Undergraduate Student Cases Committee. Significantly, Derek has used his role as Dean to support the enhancement of the student learning experience for all undergraduate students, highlighting and sharing best practice, and in ensuring consistency and promoting continual improvement across the institution.
National Teaching Fellow 2012 – Professor Jane Thomas
Jane Thomas, Health Science Lecturer and Acting Head of the College of Human and Health Sciences, Swansea University has fought off tough competition to win a prestigious Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellowship.
The National Teaching Fellowships are awarded for excellence in higher education teaching and learner support and are highly competitive. Jane was selected from over 180 nominations from across Wales, England and Northern Ireland.
Jane is a qualified nurse, midwife and health visitor with a range of professional service experience prior to her entry to teaching. Her teaching career spans over 25 years, from joining the School of Health as a community care lecturer she has held roles including practice teaching in the National Health Service, practice management for adult nursing, and Director of Quality. In that role she oversaw assessment, admissions and placements and chaired the learning and teaching, curriculum quality and admissions committees. In her current senior role Jane manages the learning and teaching remit, including both staff and programmes.
Jane is engaged with the institutional agenda from a number of perspectives, enabling her to share and benefit from best practice. She is committed to pedagogical practice from strategy to delivery, developing students and teachers to their full potential. She sustains a postgraduate teaching load, enabling her to stay close to the student experience as a practitioner, as well as managing a range of programmes. Her managerial role includes directing academic strategy in the College of Human and Health Sciences within Swansea University.
Jane is also currently the Superintendent of Assessment for Swansea University, overseeing cases of unfair practice from departmental and college level to university panels of investigation. She has recently led a successful bid to secure external funding for the development of an electronic resource to promote academic integrity in the student population. She leads the unfair practice working group, taking the academic integrity agenda forward institutionally.
With an academic background in public health, Jane is a public health assessor with the United Kingdom Public Health Register (UKPHR). She leads a postgraduate programme in public health and provides bespoke education to the sector. She has used placement learning at postgraduate level for many years and has a keen interest in employability based assessment.
Jane describes herself as having enjoyed “a colourful and challenging career working across the academic range, with gifted teachers, innovative assessors and students who both inspire and engage.” Jane firmly believes that lifelong learning is not just for students. She describes the NTFS Award as an absolute honour as the recognition and esteem of peers in higher education. The Award will enable me to make some innovative and creative developments which will not only benefit me, but my colleagues and my institution”. Her plans currently include developing a resource to support teacher development and exploring alternative assessment styles.
Professor Alan Speight, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience) said: “Our congratulations go to Jane for this excellent achievement and national recognition for her outstanding contribution to learning and teaching not only within the University but also in the wider community.”
National Teaching Fellow 2011 – Professor Aidan Byrne
Professor Aidan Byrne graduated from Cardiff University in 1987 as a doctor and after basic training worked in general medicine, becoming a registrar in 1990. After transferring to anaesthesia he worked in South Wales and developed an interest in simulation-based training. He designed and built the Anaesthetic Computer Controlled Emergency Situation Simulator (ACCESS), which was the first full scale anaesthesia training simulator in the UK. Students have greatly benefited from Aidan’rsquo;s ACCESS simulator and reported it be easy to use, realistic and a valuable educational tool. With the aid of a grant from the Association of Anaesthetists, he pioneered the use of simulation as a training and research tool, leading to an MD.
After becoming a full time consultant in Anaesthesia in Swansea, Aidan continued to develop simulation training, both locally and as president of the UK simulation society (now ASPiH). His main research interest is in the effects of workload on human performance and in particular the measurement of mental workload in real/simulated practice and its role in learning and error.
In 2004 Aidan joined Swansea University, initially developing two new open access skills laboratories with associated e-learning materials, then developing the clinical skills training within the new joint Graduate Entry Programme. After working with other staff, the clinical skills programme was developed into a fully integrated clinical skills programme and in 2006 he took over as Programme Director. He completed the MSc in medical education in Cardiff in 2005.
In 2006 Aidan began the design of a new four year graduate entry medicine programme and led the process of curriculum review, design and implementation of the new curriculum. This is a fully integrated curriculum with early engagement in clinical reasoning, patient contact and the development of clinical skills and professionalism.
In 2011 Aidan started work at Cardiff University as the interim Director of Clinical Skills and Simulation whilst maintaining an active role with the Swansea University GEM management team and medical research activities.