Academic Practice Symposium "Going Public: Academic Practice at Bristol"

On 13 April we hosted our inaugural Academic Practice Symposium – “Going Public: Academic Practice at Bristol”. We had an enjoyable day listening to colleagues from a wide range of disciplines talking about their practice in teaching, research and leadership – many thanks to all those who contributed in this way. After an introduction from Alison Leggett, Head of Academic Staff Development, the day was opened by Professor Judith Squires, PVC (Education and Students), who welcomed our fantastic keynote speaker, Professor Ray Land from Durham University, who spoke about Threshold Concepts in Higher Education. The session that followed, chaired by Dr Jane Pritchard from ASD was on the topic of Pedagogical research in HE (PedR HE@Bristol) where we heard from academics from a range of disciplines and career stages about research they have undertaken to develop their own teaching. Talks included trying new teaching activities, improving feedback, ensuring inclusive teaching, developing a critical approach in students and developing professional skills within dentistry and veterinary medicine. After lunch we heard about ways in which academics had developed their research career (Chaired by Dr Terry McMaster, Director of the Bristol Doctoral College) – including how to adjust to the UK system, how to build a research group, the benefits of working across cultures and disciplines, and lastly how generating many ideas lead to a few great projects.

We were then pleased to welcome our invited speakers on Leadership of Teaching, all of whom have been recognised through the CREATE scheme as Senior or Principal Fellows of the HEA. They spoke about the work they have undertaken, how to make change happen within education and how to bring colleagues on board.

After an exciting series of Pecha Kucha presentations, closing remarks were given by Professor John Iredale, PVC (Health), who praised everyone’s contributions to the day and in particular the participants in the Pecha Kucha Competition. The seven who took part had the hard task of presenting using only images, and were limited to 20 slides which were only up for 20 seconds each. They all did remarkably well and the judges, Professor Jeremy Tavare (Chair of the panel), Professor Dave Cliff, Professor John Iredale and Julie Jupe had a hard task choosing a winner. After much deliberation Jeremy awarded the Pecha Kucha prize of £100 of amazon vouchers to Dr Caroline Taylor with her presentation entitled “Eating fish in pregnancy – A good idea or not”. Caroline’s presentation explained the complex public health messages that are given to pregnant women and suggested, with great clarity, a more simple way to enable them to feel safe to eat fish. The presentations were of such a high standard that the judges also awarded two Highly Commended Awards of £50 each to Dr Bronwen Burton for her presentation on “Reprogramming the immune system to prevent autoimmune disease” and Dr Helmut Hauser who explained to us “Why Robots Need Smart Bodies”. There were also plenty of opportunities throughout the day for interaction from the audience made up of Academics, PhD students and Professional Services staff. We were lucky to have a gloriously sunny day so could take advantage of the lovely gardens at Goldney whilst we all networked over lunch and at the end of the day with a glass of wine. The feedback using #ASDBristolSymposia was extremely positive with Dr Caroline Taylor tweeting "Enjoyed this symposium immensely. Wonderful to see so much enthusiasm for teaching" and Roger Gardner adding "Really diverse, engaging and inspiring day, thanks to everyone and @BristolUniASD". You can see more details of the programme and abstracts from the speakers on our website. A real success and something we hope to run again in subsequent years!

View the presentations and find out more about the Academic Practice Symposium.