Professor Pete Vukusic

Runner-up for Innovative Teaching

Engaging students with research

Name Professor Pete Vukusic
Email P.Vukusic@exeter.ac.uk
Position

Professor of BioPhotonics

College College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences

Student engagement through research-inspired learning

Pete's research is focussed on examining natural and biological systems, in order to better understand them. As well as his work at the University, Pete has been involved in numerous outreach activities, such as his voluntary work in Africa and his Girls in Physics project.  

Pete has received a number of awards in recognition for his research and outreach work, including the Royal Society Kohn Award (2013) and the Institute of Physics Bragg Prize (2014). As Pete explains, "it’s been a real privilege to have had the opportunity to travel to three different countries in Africa for two or three weeks at a time to go into schools in more deprived areas… the children were delightful, they were energetic, they were challenging, they were amazing in all sorts of ways. So I was able to provide them with a little bit of enrichment, a bit of education, beyond and outside that to which they were normally exposed… I tried to also have an impact on the teachers; the methods at the schools there are rather traditional, rather chalk and didactic delivery, so some of the education delivery strategies implemented here at Exeter successfully I tried to introduce to them and see if they may have had some effect".

Equally, Pete's work at the University has benefited from his experiences with outreach programmes, and he is often recognised for his charismatic and energetic approach to teaching. "Direct engagement, talking with the students...in the middle of the lecture I think is dramatically important, and actually has a very big impact on the student experience associated with the delivery of a module...many school teachers do that when they deliver school based lessons, and I always think it's a shame that when the transition from school to University is made, that interaction...is often lost."

Aim 3: Research-inspired, inquiry-led learning
To extend the opportunities for students to learn in innovative ways through their own research and inquiry

Engagement in lectures

"Without engagement [lectures become] a very dry, unstimulating experience".

Importance of research

"The research aspect of education ... [is] so important that it's now a part of the University's Education Strategy".

Impact of research

"The impact is everywhere...often it just has to have the right set of...glasses...to appreciate where the impact might lie."