Category: Camille Kandiko Howson

Developing Pedagogical Expertise Across Institutions: event report

Camille Kandiko Howson, Associate Professor of Education, Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship

The Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship hosted a one-day event on ‘Developing Pedagogical Expertise Across Institutions’ on Friday 27 September 2019. Leaders of teaching and learning from across the country debated and discussed a national framework for developing pedagogical research. The day featured a presentation on the Office for Students (OfS)-funded project “Maximising Student Success through the Development of Self-Regulation”, by Professor Carol Evans from the University of Birmingham. Carol identified ways to support students’ ability to become independent learners, which is challenged by regulatory pressures to treat education as a service, and how to develop research-informed integrated assessment.




The suite of taught programmes run by the Educational Development Unit, including the MEd in Undergraduate Learning and Teaching featured as a showcase of an structured approach to supporting pedagogical research tailored to a specific institutional context. Professor Martyn Kingsbury explained how the flexible nature of the suite of programmes has led to increased engagement from academics and staff in learning and teaching roles.
Prof Christina Hughes presented on the ‘Legacy of LEGACY’, another OfS-funded project exploring the development of methods to measure learning gain at a national scale. Christina highlighted the methodological challenges of measuring student learning and the importance of disciplinary context. The project identified how engaging with students, as researchers, via research-based surveys and instruments and through research and support benefited student learning.

The day concluded with a workshop run by Dr Camille Kandiko Howson and Carol Evans on the ‘Future of Pedagogical Research’, exploring:

    • REF-able pedagogical research
    • Key stakeholders, audience and outcomes of pedagogical research
    • Reward and recognition for pedagogical research
    • Quality, standards and ethics
    • Supporting and developing pedagogical research

The workshop explored how criteria for the REF applied to pedagogical research, particularly the shift in REF 2021 to allowing for impact within home institutions for pedagogical research. We also analysed additional models and typologies balancing theoretical and methodological rigour with practitioner relevance, levels of scholarship and impact. Participants fed back that ‘the balance of speakers and activities worked really well and I found the activity around different perspectives very engaging’ and ‘the day was very engaging’.

The workshop concluded with discussion of future areas of research, the need to identify key stakeholder communities and to engage educational leaders at the intersection of pedagogical research and institutional support. Research into pedagogy is continuing with Centre researchers with publications in draft and through research and evaluation as part of the Imperial Learning and Teaching Strategy.

Making transatlantic HE connections at Imperial

Dr Camille Kandiko Howson, Associate Professor of Education

On 11 July 2019 the Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship hosted a group of 24 Executive Doctoral students studying higher education management from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. The students are mid-career professionals who have full-time roles ranging from Assistant Provost & Director of University of Florida Online at the University of Florida to Senior Associate Dean of Technology-Intensive Education at Georgetown University and Legislative Director, Council of the District of Columbia, and undertake their doctoral studies at the same time.

The Executive Doctoral students had an introductory session with Vice Provost Professor Simone Buitendijk and Assistant Provost Alan Spivey and engaged in discussion about implementing the Learning and Teaching Strategy. The students were particularly interested in aspects of leading cultural change and funding and finance.

A dynamic panel discussion on Admissions, Widening Participation and Outreach followed with Catherine Eames, International Student Recruitment Manager, Andrew Tebbutt, Director of Student Recruitment and Outreach, Caz Ulley, Head of Student Recruitment and Marketing and Mel Williams, Director of Admissions and Student Support. Debate included the characteristics that were included under the ‘access and widening participation’ banner, how outreach and admissions teams work in parallel, and the Exec Doc students were surprised to learn about the multiple levels that Imperial engages with through its outreach activities.

Following lunch, staff from the Centre and the Educational Development Unit participated in an active research networking session, sharing topics of study, current projects and similarities and differences in the US and UK systems. Imperial research and teaching staff and doctoral students benefited from speaking about their current research and learn from fellow students. Contacts have already been made from the event and future collaborations are in discussion.

The day concluded with an invited session on UK HE Politics and Policy from Professor Andy Westwood, Vice Dean for Social Responsibility, Faculty of Humanities, University of Manchester. There was lively discussion and debate about global challenges facing UK and US higher education, the challenges and opportunities for research intensive institutions such as Manchester and Imperial and ways that higher education can help foster connections across increasingly divided societies.

The visit highlights the leading role in evidence-based higher education research and scholarship that Imperial is investing in, and the global reach of the activity.