I am pretty confident that the most frequently “deleted unread” all-staff emails at the moment are those titled “Well-being”. For the past two years, across all sectors, including higher education, these messages have proliferated like the coronavirus itself. Advice includes reminders to eat broccoli, to exercise regularly and to listen to birdsong. The latest epistle I received delivered the shattering news that “not being physically active can increase our risk of developing heart or circulatory diseases and diabetes”.
Research often lacks full transparency and reproducibility, and poor research practices are increasingly picked up by the public, which is undermining trust in academia. Open research is research conducted with full transparency, in its design, methods and communication of outputs. Research practices that are “open” improve research quality and integrity, reuse by others and value for money. They increase public trust in research and protect against fraud.
Many early career researchers hear mentoring spoken of in hushed, reverential tones. It is, they’re told, something that changes people’s lives (professionally, at least).
Unfortunately, in many cases, it’s never something they experience firsthand.
We all understand the value of collaboration. New experiences and perspectives from colleagues and students help to challenge our ways of thinking, driving us to create and share knowledge in more impactful ways. But collaborating with people outside your university sphere can add equal, and perhaps even more, value.
Public engagement spans activities from inspiring audiences through talks, exhibitions or festivals; consulting through surveys, focus groups or citizen juries; or shared decision-making and working with the public as partners.
The challenge of cultivating student attention has never been more intense than it will be in the coming academic year. Faculty have been battling the distracting power of student devices in the classroom for a decade or two, and during the pandemic the integration of screens into education has intensified. Continuous engagement with our devices over the past 18 months will likely make it more challenging for students to pull their eyes away from their screens and focus on in-person classroom activities.
Many challenges associated with ensuring student engagement and minimising attrition when teaching online are well established in the context of postgraduate education, where remote study has long been a key component. Educational podcasts have been used successfully to address these challenges and improve postgrad student online learning experiences.
Now that many universities plan to continue hybrid and online teaching for their undergraduates, lessons can be learned from what has worked for postgrads, including examining why and how to effectively use podcasts for teaching.
When I was a graduate student in the late 1990s, the North American labour market was undergoing a profound (albeit gradual, in modern terms) shift. A still nascent but booming internet economy, expanding international trade agreements and the offshoring of industrial jobs led to mass factory and plant closures.
If you are thinking about decolonising your curriculum and wondering where to start, do no not worry, you are in the majority. Many people are supportive of the idea in principle but are not sure what to do.
Over the past 18 months, we’ve all heard about the unique challenges of joining a new organisation during a global pandemic. For me, joining Leeds Trinity University as vice-chancellor in November 2020, I was faced with establishing my own leadership style at a time when staff and students were working remotely, a number of our traditional touchpoints had disappeared and the goalposts seemed to be changing by the day. Here are five of the key lessons I learnt, in the hope that other university colleagues can take something from my experiences.
Social media is often seen as either the sole domain of youth or a hive of fake news. Neither gives the full story. Academics have been using social media for research and scholarship since the first tweet was tweeted. And although social media has been weaponised to influence elections and public opinion, it also serves as free-to-use, free-flowing and far-reaching academic discussion while encouraging creativity that can spark learning and inquiry.