CAP Forum: Embedding Research in Teaching

This year’s first CAP Forum focused on the topic of embedding your research in your teaching. As a result, we invited one of this year’s Research-informed Teaching Award winners to present on how and why she embeds her research into her teaching, and what her research is about. In 2002, Dr Cheryl Travers set up a module to fill what she perceived as a gap in Learning and Teaching from her experience of being an academic occupational psychologist. This gap was the extent to which the SBE finalists have developed their ‘soft’ skills in their final year after their placement.

Her research is about her ‘Reflective goal setting model’ and the module puts this into practice- asking students to reflect on themselves, set goals, use the ‘power of written reflection’ to measure the impact of those goals. She asks the students to write a diary which for the first time this year will take the form of an electronic portfolio thanks to her new innovative system for students to log their thoughts.

The discussion that followed focused mostly on her actual pedagogic research, and how other disciplines can apply her reflective goal setting model, from Arts students to STEM students, and even students wishing to learn a language while at University.

Overall, it was an enjoyable afternoon with lively discussion, an abundance of food, and a wonderful talk by Dr Cheryl Travers. The session was lecture captured, which you can find here, and you can also find Cheryl’s papers on her research around goal setting, as well as her recent TEDx talk that she delivered at Loughborough Students’ Union below.

Dr Travers’ papers – 

Self reflection, growth goals and academic outcomes: A qualitative study

Unveiling a reflective diary methodology for exploring the lived experiences of stress and coping

Developing Outreach and Employability through Innovative Teaching

A group of student historians from Loughborough are heading out into schools across the UK this winter on a mission to research teaching.

The staff-student collaboration project, Developing Outreach and Employability through Innovative Teaching, led by Dr.Catherine Armstrong and final-year student Lauren Porter involves students observing how history is taught in schools. Both primary and secondary teaching is under the spotlight as the students explore picwhat a teaching career in history means in reality.

To get the project going, the team created an observation logbook which allows participants to log all the observations they make. The next step involved recruiting innovative History students to take part in this new project. Various lecture shout-outs took place; a blog and social media sites were set up to contact participants. The team received plenty of interest and were delighted to welcome fifteen students to the group.

The team reported that their first project meeting was successful; it started with an ice-breaker activity and then moved onto exploring questions, such as: ‘What makes a good teacher?’ and ‘What is positive teaching practice?’ The questions aimed to stimulate independent thought and allow the participants to think about the nature of the project in more depth.

The second meeting included a presentation by CAP’s own Deena Ingham who presented various clips that tested and enhanced participants’ observation skills. Students viewed film of different teaching styles and explored what makes for good learning and crucially what stopped the learning process.  They compiled a comprehensive list of questions to ask when observing and interviewing the teachers they observe. In this way their insight into what it means to teach history will become a valuable resource for future students.

The team are excited about seeing the project develop further over the next few months, but it is already proving beneficial for several of the final-years students involved.  Lauren Porter said:  ‘The project has provided me with the confidence boost needed to teach. To recruit undergraduate participants for this project, I stood in front of lectures and spoke to students about this exciting new project. This process seemed daunting at first; however, it filled me with confidence going into my teacher training interviews and it has allowed me to be successful and gain a place starting next Autumn.’

Working with the Careers and Employability Centre: supporting you and your students

The Careers and Employability Centre is running a 50 minute information session on Tuesday 6th May 1pm – 1.50pm to provide an insight into the support, services and activities that we offer. The course will help you if you are in a position where you support students with queries relating to their career planning, CV writing, career choice and finding work experience, placements or graduate opportunities.


Please book your place via my.HR. Logon to my.HR and select ‘Learning Activities’, then type in the workshop title into the search box.


If the date is not suitable but you would be interested in attending, please email Yvonne Hamblin and we will consider running another session later in the term if there is sufficient interest.

The impact of term-time employment on students' academic success


There is growing concern about the detrimental effect of term-time employment on university students’ academic success.

Richardson et al (2013) report on the results from an online survey of 1837 students of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, whose responses were later matched to their academic records for a semester. They found:

  • The majority of employed students reported working out of financial necessity.
  • There was no difference in grades between employed and non-employed students, but hours worked had a direct negative linear effect on the grades of employed students.
  • Employed students might have had significantly higher grades than the non-employed subsample if they had not worked.

The authors conclude:

Subject to the limitations of the study, our results indicate that students work because they are under considerable financial pressure to do so; this financial pressure arises from a wish to keep debt levels within tolerable limits while continuing to survive, enjoy some sort of social life and pay for a university education. At least within our sample, the average working student seemed to do a reasonable job of managing the conflicting demands of work and study. However, working students do not obtain the grades, and perhaps the education, that they might if they did not have to work.


Richardson, J.J., Kemp, S., Malinen, S., Haultain, S.A. (2013), The academic achievement of students in a New Zealand university: Does it pay to work?, in the Journal of Further and Higher Education , Vol. 37, Iss. 6

Publishing company Lamplight Press launched

Lamplight PressFollowing funding from the University’s Enterprise Awards and from our own Teaching Innovation Awards, Lecturer in Publishing Studies, Melanie Ramdarshan launched Lamplight Press Publishing company in late September this year.

‘Lamplight Press is a not-for-profit general trade and academic publishing company dedicated to promoting new fiction, non-fiction and academic writing by students, academics and authors from around the UK. They will publish across a broad range of genres and are on the look-out for interesting manuscripts.

The company will be driven by students that specialise in Publishing, English and Creative Writing who will work closely with Illustration and Art students. It will be run on a formal basis with an editorial board comprised of academic staff and students, with students operating in key functions such as editorial, marketing and design. Books will be traditionally printed and/or produced in digital form.’

Involvement in this company will complement the formal teaching that students receive and will help to increase their employability skills whilst ‘increasing publishing opportunities for new, aspiring or established authors’.

Lamplight Press on University website

Lamplight Press blog

Employability in Psychology

HigherEducationAcademyThe HEA has recently published this useful resource aimed at Psychology but don’t let the title put you off. This guide would be helpful for any programme team wishing to review how employability might be embedded within a programme (rather than being bolted on) and offers a number of cases studies describing what other institutions have done to tackle the issue. In addition to considering those employability skills which might be considered fundamental to a psychology degree (communication, interpersonal skills), the guide also includes some advice on global citizenship which is pertinent to any discipline.

Employability in Action update

Employability in ActionEmployability in Action is an initiative led by the Careers and Employability Centre to develop and promote employability and career planning skills within and alongside the academic curriculum.

 At the first event held on the 15th March 2013, academic staff and professional services staff came together:

 •To showcase some of the existing work that is going on across campus to develop tailored employability materials and work related modules

•To share best practice among academic colleagues and staff of the Careers and Employability Centre

•To facilitate discussion about the delivery of employability content within or alongside the curriculum

•To encourage academic engagement with the employability agenda

 Please see the presentations from the day on this web link. You will need to use your University user name and password to access the web page:  

 The discussion continues…….

 In April, a departmental workshop facilitated by the Careers and Employability Centre took place in the School of Social Sciences, Politics and Geographical Sciences to look at using alumni contacts to support work experience and placement opportunities.

 In May, the Careers and Employability Centre supported an Employability Symposium organised by the School of Business and Economics.

 If you would like to know more about how we could support you in embedding career planning and employability in the curriculum, in the first instance, please contact your careers adviser with responsibility for your department. See our web page for contact details: