Member of PRiSM
Alison is the Director of Student Education for the School of Physics and Astronomy and leader of the Physics Education Research Group (PERG). Within her role she mainly focuses on all the aspects surrounding teaching, which includes finding innovative and current ideas to enhance the quality of student education and ensuring students’ employability, and assessing the effectiveness of the physics course as whole.
Having completed her PhD in Physics at the University of Leeds, as well as a PGCE at the University of Liverpool, her interest are balanced between the physical sciences and teaching. She express an great interest in adding value to education beyond simply teaching Physics. Alison have delivered modules across all levels, ranging from the foundation year to the fourth year within the integrated masters programme, and has developed an awareness of the different needs of each year. She highlights the importance of distinguishing between the different years and approaching the students accordingly as their reaction to methods differ.
Alison finds joy in observing how students progress and evolve their physics, employing it to a wider range of careers, with some students focusing more on industry specific careers, while others continue on the academic path. For her, it is important to provide the necessary skills for the broad spectrum of outputs. She has incorporated a variety of employability skills within the curriculum and ensured that desirable skills such as problem solving and communication are inherently embedded within the Physics degree, which has a positive impact on their employability as students are good at surveying a situation and condensing it down to something logical.
The fact that Alison has always been teaching, has led to her interest in pedagogical research and her passion in finding innovative ways of teaching to enhance student engagement and teaching. Her objective is to encourage students throughout their degree to build their portfolios and develop their CVs so that they feel prepared to apply to employers. She is very involved in the University’s Curriculum Enhancement project, which investigates assessments and learning outcomes of all modules. In the past she has been in projects which evaluate the most effective ways of including reflection in personal tutorials as well as offering a support system to students, which has lead to the Leeds Model of Personal Tutoring, as well as Leeds for Life. A few years back, she recognised the need for a curriculum review in Physics Faculty and in response she was awarded a University Teaching Fellow which provided the funding to complete a research project which lead to a complete reconsideration of the way in which students are taught and how skills are embedded within the curriculum.
For her, PRiSM puts a presence out to the University that recognises the value and importance of teaching and educational research, raising the profile and reputation of the University as Leeds as institute. She highlights the fact that it provides the recognition to academics who focus and publish on pedagogical research.