Dean’s Commendation Awards

Celebrating academic excellence through Academic Professional

We want to celebrate excellence in our Academic Professional participants and have introduced the ‘Dean’s Commendations’ to recognise those assignments that demonstrate outstanding quality. This is an opportunity for the University to celebrate excellence with our participants and those nominated for the Commendations are encouraged to present their work to a wider audience.

Nominations will be made by the module team who assess the assignments produced and these will be reviewed by the Programme Director at the end of each academic year. Commendations will be announced after the exam board in November.

Dean’s Commendations Nov 2017:

Student NameReason
Chris Campbell

For performance in Module One (EFPM900)

This essay offers a case-study of an evolving research project. In offering an analytical reflection on the experience of devising the project and putting it up for funding in the European Research Council Horizon 2020 Consolidator Grant Award Scheme, this report charts and evaluates the pitfalls and challenges facing Early Career Researchers. It situates its findings within the context of the development of the disciplinary field of literary studies over the past seventeen years or so, identifying blind-spots in certain theoretical positions and protocols which the project seeks to redress. It also offers a perspective on how the grant application process can lead to better understanding of internal academic procedures (peer review, project revision, supervision); it provides a view, too, on the changing climate for funding research within higher education institutions in the UK in the contemporary moment.

Ross Carroll

For performance in Module One (EFPM900)

This project, “Evading Capture: Political Theory and the Impact Agenda” examines the particular challenges that the impact agenda poses for my sub-discipline of political theory and intervenes in the current debate over how political theorists should respond. I argue that political theory scholarship (including in the history of political thought) has significant positive impacts on society, but they are impacts that current REF metrics will struggle to capture. Although political theorists might thus be justified in their apprehensions about impact, I further claim, they would be ill advised to adopt a purely adversarial or disruptive posture towards this new agenda. Instead, political theorists should remain engaged in the debate in order to push for a conceptual widening of impact to a point where it can more readily accommodate the special contributions that political theorists make to the societies we live in.

Susannah Cornwall

For performance in Module Two (EFPM902)

In the video presentation I reflect and comment on my move toward modelling self-reflexivity via sharing draft work in progress with students, giving them an opportunity to comment on and critique it. A catalyst for this change was a panel in which I participated at the American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting in 2014 on self-reflexivity in research on sexualities and religion. Practicing self-reflexivity models for student’s experimentation, collaboration, and intellectual risk-taking. This is in response to my dissatisfaction with an overly outcomes-based model of learning and assessment, which seems to shut down possibility and to insist that any good outcome is predetermined in advance. It ensures that teaching remains research-led, which ensures students themselves become better researchers and see that they are members of an institution in which cutting-edge research is taking place. Modelling vulnerability and self-reflexivity in my own work gets to the heart of some of the commitments I have sought to draw upon, including feminist and queer methodologies.

Gareth Curless

For performance in Module One (EFPM900)

It is widely accepted that in spite of efforts to address gender inequalities in the U.K. higher education sector, female academics continue to face structural barriers to their advancement. While these structural disadvantages are not new, this essay argues that the neoliberal turn in higher education has exacerbated the situation. The rise of the audit culture associated with ‘new managerialism’, which fails to recognise the value of work performed by female academics, and the persistence of a highly masculine work culture in the academy are cited as key impediments to gender equality. The essay concludes with some brief reflections on how structural barriers to gender equality in higher education can be dismantled.

Timothy William Fawcett

For performance in Module One (EFPM900)

Timothy William Fawcett

For performance in Module Two (EFPM902)

Irene Fernández-Molina

For performance in Module One (EFPM900)

The essay reviews the scholarly debates on the benefits and the pitfalls of student evaluations of teaching, as well as studies on the biases that may affect their results, the most widely researched of which are gender biases. The main conclusion from the literature is that some stereotypical expectations related to the personal identity and characteristics of the instructors certainly play a role in the way students quantitatively rate and qualitatively describe their performance. This being said, the precise extent of this influence is hard to determine empirically due to the difficulty to isolate the variables under consideration from the complexities of real-life teaching situations, except by conducting controlled experiments. At any rate, there already exists sufficient evidence to recommend higher education institutions to take account of this problem in at least three ways, i.e. increasing their awareness of existing biases in student evaluations of teaching, taking these into account in decision-making about teaching supply and human resources management, and implementing measures to gather data in order to empirically ascertain the extent of this problem.

Naomi Howell

For performance in Module Two (EFPM902)

The assignment, entitled "Student Engagement and the Curriculum: Choices, Limitations, and Finding a Balance" explored opportunities for enhancing engagement by involving students at different levels of curriculum design. The narrated presentation examined examples of medieval and Renaissance pedagogy for potential models, and concluded with a proposal for a co-created course curriculum highlighting the role of objects and artefacts as catalysts for engagement in the literature classroom.

Yang Liu

For performance in Module Two (EFPM902)

This assignment summarises teaching practice as a lecturer of engineering, and discusses how to best use teaching practice for engineering undergraduate education in terms of enhancing student engagement. The assignment also focuses on comprehensive mapping of experience of teaching practice to the UK Professional Standards Framework. Accompanied by a narrated PowerPoint that proposes a collaborative learning environment for student assessment by using one of the engineering modules, ECMM147 Mechatronics: Sensors and Machine Automation, as example.

Camille Mathieu

For performance in Module Two (EFPM902)

The project “Widening Access in the Art History Classroom: Nurturing a Successful First-Generation Experience at the University of Exeter” was inspired by the experiences of several of my first-generation students at Exeter and the challenges they faced as students of a subject area that was considered so elite that it was temporarily cut from the national A-level program: Art History. I researched the widening access issues that specifically pertain to the success of first generation undergraduate students and found that social factors (parents who are not encouraging, financial responsibilities outside school) provide some of the greatest barriers to entry. I found that Exeter University was taking important steps to reach out to potential first-generation university students at the school level as part of their widening access platform, but that once these students arrived on campus, there was little in place in terms of specifically targeted support available to them. In my work, I suggested potential areas where the University could improve its support, and then looked to my own teaching practice to see how I could implement that support on a daily basis.

Katherine McDonald

For performance in Module One (EFPM900)

This essay presents the results of an online survey of Classicists and Classics students in the UK which was open from 1 March to 31 May 2017. The responses to the survey cover a wide range of effects casualisation in academia. Respondents reported their personal experiences of temporary and hourly-paid contracts, including ‘employment strain’, financial instability, health problems, feeling undervalued or frustrated, difficulties with career progression, and decisions to leave academia. Although casualisation is a structural issue that cannot be solved at the level of the individual, this report reflects on the changes that academics and departments can make to their professional practice to promote the well-being of their colleagues.

Debra Ramsay

For performance in Module Two (EFPM902)

Our students are digital learners, but we are only just beginning to process what that means for teaching. The continued emphasis on traditional forms of teaching and assessment seems particularly anachronistic in a field concerned with film, a visual medium that has been profoundly impacted by the advent of the digital. The incorporation of a range of digital forms of assessment in my modules led to significant changes in the way I approach learning outcomes, and how these might be achieved using digital platforms. This paper explores the rationale behind the incorporation of aspects of “Blended Learning” techniques into my teaching practices, specifically into seminars and workshops, and reflects on their implementation. It demonstrates how digital platforms can support a specific teaching ethos that places students at the centre of the learning process, and points to ways in which they might be used in the future to foster experiential forms of learning.

Simon Rennie

For performance in Module Two (EFPM902)

This essay examines the issue of ‘assertiveness’ in the Higher Education teaching sphere. It suggests that the sooner students understand the complexity of the nature of the relationship between themselves and their educators, the sooner they are able to trust their own judgement and become independent scholars. The way that an educator negotiates the complexities of the projection of assertiveness plays a vital role in this process of development. The most effective use of assertiveness in teaching at Higher Education level should focus first upon the particular personal and social factors impacting on its use, and then on the processes of managed withdrawal of assertiveness, in order to empower students and, in effect, ‘transfer’ assertiveness from the teacher to the student. Recognising the teacher-student relationship as a process rather than a stable entity is central to this

Dora Vargha

For performance in Module One (EFPM900)

This paper focuses on the Prevent Programme, its problems, perspectives and approaches, and identifies certain problematic points that raise concern in higher education. Using an interdisciplinary approach and drawing on the fields of political science, law, philosophy, history, and psychology, it aims to assess the Prevent Programme in the context of academic freedom and radicalism. Despite lack of evidence in efficiency, and critiques from researchers in law, sociology and psychology, the programme continues to be part of university life as threats and domestic terrorist attacks by Islamist fundamentalists and far-right individuals and groups seem to be on the rise. The paper makes the argument that universities have responsibilities in continuing and expanding conversation about the programme, its effect on Muslim communities, on relationships between teaching staff and students, and on academic freedom. Furthermore, as higher education institutions they need to foster debate and prepare students to be informed of, and critically engage with the world they inhabit.

Andrew James Williams

For performance in Module One (EFPM900)

One of the expectations of universities is that they will produce career ready graduates, which impels us to develop learning experiences and assignments which emulate the work place. The assignment was a review of the literature on how to successfully set and facilitate group assignments, and in addition reflecting upon his own experience running a group assignment. The assignment concluded with a number of recommendations and strategies from the literature for facilitating successful group assignments.

Andrew James Williams

For performance in Module Two (EFPM902)

Reflecting upon his previous and current experiences, and observations from colleagues, to map onto the UK Professional Services Framework, his narrated presentation was a discussion of his plans to use a discovery-oriented approach to teach the Bradford Hill Criteria for Causation. This included a thoughtful review of the philosophical and empirical perspectives on action-oriented teaching approaches like the discovery-oriented approach, which informed how he organised this learning experience for the students.

Rebecca Jane Williams

For performance in Module Two (EFPM902)

Zhiguang Yin

For performance in Module One (EFPM900)

The assignment explores the challenges and pedagogy of teaching non-British and non-Western research-led history course to British undergraduate students. It looks at the possibility of creating innovative ways of teaching non-Western history to enhance the ‘Global Citizenship Education’ agenda. It recognises that the study of the ‘others’ could help the students to position ‘self’ in a global context, train students for independent learning, and experience the importance of mutual-aid.

 

Dean’s Commendations Nov 2016:

Student name

Reason

 Stephane Baele

For performance in Module One (EFPM900) and Module Two (EFPM902)

Stephane’s Module 1 assignment explored the role of academic metrics in contemporary higher education, for example in allocating resources, and the intended and unintended consequences of metrics on academic work.

Stephane’s Module 2 assignment showed clear engagement with all aspects of the UK Professional Standards Framework; and a high quality presentation on how to make small group seminars effective, including a range of possible strategies.

Jana Funke

For performance in Module One (EFPM900)

Jana’s assignment explored how academics can engage with non-academic communities to achieve ‘research impact’.  Whilst research impact is a key component of the Research Excellence Framework, Jana put this in the context of a much longer history of international debates about the relevance of academic research and explored the risks, challenges and benefits of doing impact work.

Mark Pearson

For performance in Module One (EFPM900)

Mark’s assignment considered the potential for synergy between teaching and research in UK Higher Education;  explored how an inclusive scholarly community might facilitate this; and outlined the implications for the University of Exeter Education Strategy.

Joel Krueger

For performance in Module One (EFPM900)

Joel’s assignment explored ‘interdisciplinarity in practice’, using perspectives from philosophy and cognitive science to consider several different ways of understanding knowledge transfer across disciplines (e.g., multi-, inter-, and trans-disciplinarity) and the implications for collaborative practices.

Felicity Gee

For performance in Module Two (EFPM902)

Felicity’s assignment showed careful mapping of her experience to the UK Professional Standards Framework; and an interesting narrated PowerPoint that challenged conventional methods of learning in closed exam conditions, and explored the use of online blogs and other creative approaches as an alternative.

Tim Marwood

For performance in Module Two (EFPM902)

Tim’s assignment showed very comprehensive mapping of his experiences to the UK Professional Standards Framework and engagement with peer review;  and an interesting presentation exploring his experiences with the diffusion of a teaching innovation at the University of Exeter.

Sam Kinsley

For performance in Module Two (EFPM902)

Sam’s assignment showed very thorough mapping of experience to the UK Professional Standards Framework: and a thought provoking presentation about the use of learning technologies to enhance large-class engagement with teaching and assessment, particularly in the context of teaching geography within higher education.