As we come to the end of the 2015-16 academic year, it’s time to update you on our recent news and events. Our latest CCCU Psychology Newsletter introduces our new Director of Psychology – Dr. Amanda Carr. We also cover: highlights from “Psychology has talent”, student stories, research project updates and more. We hope you enjoy keeping up to date with CCCU Psychology. Don’t forget you can also connect with us via Facebook (CCCU Psychology), Twitter (@CCCUPsych) and LinkedIn (CCCU Psychology). Finally, good luck to our current students for the last round of deadlines and exams!by
So what is the REF?
Recently the new REF results were published. “What is the REF?” I hear some of you say. Well, unless you work in a University, then the chances are that you have not heard of the REF, or if you have, you don’t really know much about it. This post will hopefully make things a little clearer for you!
The REF stands for the Research Excellence Framework and it is a national review of the research conducted at UK Universities. This recent review was newsworthy because, for the first time, the research was also judged on its impact.
This leads us to a further question: What is impact? The Research Councils UK (RCUK) defines research impact as “the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy”. So although research can have an “impact” in the academic world, what is really key here is the impact outside of academia, e.g. has it made a difference in the real world?
Why is the REF important?
The government allocates a substantial amount of public funding for research conducted at Universities. Therefore, it is understandable that they want to ensure that this research is of a high quality and that is of benefit to society. So the REF assesses each University in the UK and then later in the year the results from this assessment are used to calculate how much funding that University will receive. It is important to note that this kind of review is not completely new; in fact, national reviews of this kind have been conducted roughly every five years since 1986. However, what was is new this year is the inclusion of impact.
Arguably, the inclusion of impact into the criteria can only be a good thing for the future of research. The main reason that I pursued a career in Psychology was to try to understand issues within society. In my case, I research bullying within schools. I think it is extremely important that what I find in my research feeds back into schools in order to help try and tackle this problem.
What were our results?
81-98% of research undertaken and submitted to the 2014 REF by staff in Psychology across a range of units of assessment has been recognised as world leading or internationally significant. CCCU’s submissions to the REF 2014 improved upon the results from the previous RAE (Research Assessment Exercise) review. This represents growth in our established research areas as well as new, emerging areas of research excellence. Well done to all staff involved!by
Here at CCCU we started the week off with a bang by hosting our Learning and Teaching conference #CCCLT14. Staff from across the University gathered to discuss and recognise good practice. The day consisted of presentations and workshops on a diverse range of topics, from employability to “I can see clearly now, the feedback has come!” …and even pottery! But across all talks and workshops, the overall message was clear: the Higher Education Curriculum should not be viewed as static. Instead it should evolve to include students as partners in the exploring and developing Learning and Teaching.
One way that CCCU is already doing this is by holding the Golden Apple Awards–a scheme run by the Students’ Union to enable students to reward staff who exhibit exceptional teaching and/or support, or are particularly inspiring within their field. Students from across the University are welcome to nominate any member of staff or support department who have influenced their development.
Nowhere was this more prevalent than in the Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences, with a staggering 50 members of staff nominated. Not only that, but 10 of those nominations were for staff within the School of Psychology, which included the winner, Britta Osthaus!
An example of one student nomination was read out, which clearly highlighted the exceptional teaching and support that Britta provides, and her tremendous enthusiasm for teaching. We are thrilled to have a Golden Apple in our Team–congratulations Britta!by
You may have heard of Universities Week (9-15 June 2014). This is a week where universities across the UK invite everyone to be inspired, get involved and discover the work that we are doing to improve the way we live our lives. This year, there were several activities that took place throughout the UK–including one by us here at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU). Last Wednesday, we held a Psychology themed event at our award-winning library, Augustine House. Year Eight pupils from local Canterbury secondary schools attended the event.
What did they do?
The event involved seven hands-on activities that demonstrated how Psychology research can help to understand and improve the way we live our lives. The activity I was involved in, along with Liz Spruin, presented pupils with a role-play of a crime. They then had to work out who the perpetrator was using techniques developed in Forensic Psychology, including facial and geographical profiling. Each activity was hands-on and enabled pupils to be actively engaged in the following Psychology topics: stereotypes of teenagers, creativity, collaborative play, social identity, playgrounds and development, and music psychology (ear worms).
By inviting young people to the event, the day formed part of CCCU’s Outreach work. The Outreach Team is committed to helping the next generation of students aspire to higher education. The main aim of Outreach work is to enable suitably qualified young people to access the benefits of higher education and to fulfil their potential, regardless of their background.
Want to get involved?
If you are a school student or teacher, get in contact with your local universities and find out what events they have going on. University students can usually get involved as part of their University’s Outreach Ambassador Scheme. If you are a lecturer then speak to your Outreach Team for help arranging your own event and also visit Universities Week and <www.publicengagement.ac.uk> for helpful resources and tips.