This week the editor of the journal Journal of Education & Research informed us that our paper ‘Reflections on variations in PhD viva regulations: “And the options are….”’ has been accepted for publication . This paper grew out of a discussion between the six authors about the apparent differences between the outcomes of the PhD viva at different universities. We have all acted as internal or external examiners for a PhD viva and had noted inconsistencies between universities, either in the regulations or in the interpretation of their PhD regulations. The authors are based at three different universities, on two different continents and, between them, have examined PhD theses submitted to universities based in at least ten different countries. Three authors are based in BU’s Faculty of Health & Social Sciences (Prof. Vanora Hundley, Dr. Pramod Regmi & Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen), two authors are based in the School of Human & Health Sciences at the University of Huddersfield (Prof. Padam Simkhada & Dr. Bibha Simkhada and both are Visiting Faculty at BU), and one author is based in the Institute for Global Health in the School of Public Health & Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA (Prof. Krishna C. Poudel).
This paper outlines the range of outcomes of a PhD examination. It also includes four short case studies, each reflecting on a particular aspect /differences we experienced as examinees or as examiners. The authors aim to alert PhD candidates and examiners to study the examination rules set by the awarding university, as the details of the PhD examination outcome, and hence the options available to both examiners and the students, may differ more than one might expect. This is the latest CMMPH education publication around aspects of the PhD [2-5].
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH)
van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, B., Regmi, P., Simkhada, P., Hundley, V., Poudel, K.C. (2022) Reflections on variations in PhD viva regulations: “And the options are….”, Journal of Education and Research (accepted).
Way, S, Hundley, V., van Teijlingen, E, Walton, G., Westwood, G. (2016) Dr Know. Midwives19: 66-7.
Wasti, S.P. Regmi, P.R., Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E., Hundley, V. (2022) Writing a PhD Proposal, In: Wasti, S.P., van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P.P., Hundely, V. & Shreeh, K. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 176-183.
Hundley, V., Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E. (2022) Converting your Master’s or Doctoral Thesis into an Academic Paper for Publication, In: Wasti, S.P., et al. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 184-189.
This week saw saw the publication of two book chapters on very different aspects of university education. First, Prof. Debbie Holley, Dr. Ben Goldsmith and Dr. David Fevyer co-authored ‘Inspiring Learning through Technologies’. This is chapter 5 in the newly published second edition of the textbook Enhancing Teaching Practice in Higher Education published by SAGE .
And just a three days ago Emerald Publishing published a chapter on external examining in The Role of External Examining in Higher Education: Challenges and Best Practices. The chapter ‘Acting as External Examiners in the UK: Going Beyond Quality Assurance’  is co-authored by Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) and FHSS Visiting Facutly Prof. Padam Simkhada (University of Huddersfield) and Dr. Amudha Poobalan (University of Aberdeen).
Dr Emma Kavanagh and Dr Lorraine Brown (FoM) have just published a paper entitled ‘Towards a research agenda for examining online gender-based violence against women academics’. Work on this topic was inspired by Emma’s research on the online violence experienced by female athletes and further influenced by work on sexual harassment by the Women’s Academic Network (WAN), which ran a symposium on the topic in June this year. The writing of the paper was supported through writing retreats organised by WAN. The focus of this paper builds upon the critical mass of research being conducted exploring inter-personal violence and gender-based violence in sporting spaces by members of the Department of Sport and Event Management, and the work of the Bournemouth University Gender Research Group.
There is an increasing call for academics to promote their research and enhance their impact through engaging in digital scholarship through social media platforms. While there are numerous benefits concerned with increasing the reach of academic work using virtual platforms, it has been widely noted that social media sites, such as Twitter, are spaces where hostility towards women and hate speech are increasingly normalised. In their paper, Emma and Lorraine provide a review of the current literature concerning violence toward women academics online and further provide suggestions for a research agenda which aims to understand the phenomena of gender-based violence more clearly and work toward safeguarding (female) academics engaging in digital scholarship. As they rightly state: “institutions such as universities that are increasingly placing pressure on women academics to engage in virtual platforms to disseminate their work have a responsibility in the prevention and protection of harm”.
A few times a month ResearchGate alerts me that another paper has reached a miles stone of so having been read some many times. Today the ResearchGate message is about 600 reads for our paper ‘Research Methods Coverage in Medical and Health Science Curricula in Nepal’.  This paper was a report on research methods teaching in health-related Higher Education (HE) courses in the health and medical field in Nepal. This paper originates from a DelPHE (Round 4), British Council award. Our study ‘Partnership on Improving Access to Research Literature for HE Institutions in Nepal’ (PARI Initiative) was a collaboration between the oldest university in Nepal, namely Tribhuvan University and two UK university of which BU was one. A further paper from the PARI Initiative was published a year later.  The lead author of both papers in BU Visiting Faculty Prof Padam Simkhada, who is Professor of International Public Health at the Public Health Institute at Liverpool John Moores University.
The Nepal Journal of Epidemiology is a full Open Access journal which means anybody across the globe can access it for free. The Nepal Journal of Epidemiology is part of Nepal Journals Online (NepJOL) a service established by INASP in 2007, which provides online publication of Nepali journals.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E., Pokharel, T., Devkota, B., Pathak, R.S. (2013) Research Methods Coverage in Medical & Health Science Curricula in Nepal, Nepal Journal Epidemiology3(3): 253-258. www.nepjol.info/index.php/NJE/article/view/9185
Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E., Devkota, B., Pathak, R.S., Sathian, B. (2014) Accessing research literature: A mixed-method study of academics in Higher Education Institutions in Nepal, Nepal Journal of Epidemiology4(4): 405-14. http://www.nepjol.info/index.php/NJE/article/view/11375
The Southern Universities Network, in conjunction with the 11-19 team at Bournemouth Borough Council and Bournemouth and Poole College, are hosting a family day to raise awareness and reduce negative views on students staying in education through F.E. to H.E.
They are looking for local providers and employers to attend the event to host small interactive activity stands – where rolling, practical tasks can be completed by all members of the family, to raise awareness of various types of educational pathways. This could involve you representing your area of work and the university as a whole. You may then talk to the families about various routes offered to stay in education through the university.
The event will be advertised within schools and their websites, on social media, through the 11-19 team mailing list and via flyers and handouts in local schools and community centres.
As part of the afternoon they are hiring the centre’s soft play facility to ensure all the family can attend and there will be refreshments available for all attendees. There will also be a fun family cycling activity and those who attend will be issued with a goody bag of local information and offers for the leisure centre.
Local services such as the Department for Working Pensions and youth services will attend, to answer any questions parents may have.
The day is planned to be fun with an educational twist, aimed at getting the support of families and the community when young people are looking at their future training and education.
Saturday 30 March
Set up from 1.00pm, students and families arriving 2.00pm, end 5.00pm.
At meetings we discuss issues following two presentations, and share our on-going work into humanising practice in education, practice and research.
All staff, students and external visitors are welcome
If you would like directions to the venue, have any queries OR If you are not already a member of the Humanising SIG e-mail list and would like to be informed of future events, please contact Caroline Ellis-Hillat firstname.lastname@example.org
We are a group of academics and practitioners who have an interest in what makes us Feel Human and how this is linked to Health, Wellbeing, Dignity and Compassion. As part of the Centre for Qualitative Research CQR we use Lifeworld approaches, embodied knowing and subjective experience as the basis for our understanding. For more information please click here
Three weeks ago I had a pleasure and amazing opportunity to attend and engage with fantastic research training – the 4th European University Association (EUA) Funding Forum. The forum took place in one BU’s current and established Erasmus+ links – the Universitat Ramon Llull (Barcelona, Spain).
The 4th EUA Funding Forum, titled ‘Frameworks that empower, universities that deliver’ has primarily focused on macro-level changes that affect models and processes that EU universities traditionally apply.
The opening talk by Joseph Garrell I Guiu, Rector of Ramon Llull University (Spain); Jose Manuel Pingarron Carrazon, Secretary General of Universities (Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities) and Rolf Tarrach, President of the European University Association, highlighted the roles of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in a deeper engagement with social issues. This naturally can be done via education. However, research and business engagement would require different models of thinking in relation to funding. Investments should be attracted from elsewhere and with the purpose of HEIs being at forefront of sustainable living. BU with its new BU2025 vision and strategic plan puts a large emphasis on responsibility. However, to deliver an evidence-based impact would require reconsideration of processes and in many cases steeping out of the HE comfort zone and take risk by implementing different but importantly efficiency-based approaches.
Following the opening talk, Thomas Estermann, Director, Governance, Funding and Public Policy Development at EUA has presented astonishing statistics on how various HEIs within the EU operate in terms of attracting investment and students. Photo below show extract from the slides, presented by Thomas Estermann.
4th EUA Forum, Thomas Estermann
Thomas Estermann stated that the UK has a 20% decrease in attracting any sort of investment that supports HE sector. This is mainly driven by a lesser exposure to funding opportunities that the UK had access to but also nation-wide issues with decreasing student numbers. This left me wondering what can be done to minimise the gap.
Elvira Bolat, 4th EUA Forum
The event took place over two days, 18-19th October, and was an amazing opportunity to meet a frontline of EU HEIs’ leadership. Combination of plenary sessions and masterclasses offered the participants, not only an opportunity to network, but hear stories of ‘brave’ approaches to leading and managing HEIs and to learn about i.e. new types of partnerships within the HE context that can generate funding to support HEIs’ missions or importance of integrating business intelligence systems and management structures to inform HEIs’ processes.
One of my favourite talks was a panel formed by Mikulas Bek, Rector of Masaryk University (Czech Republic); Francisco Jose Mora Mas, Rector of Universitat Politecnica de Valencia (Spain) and Petra Wend, Vice-Chancellor of Queen Margaret University (United Kingdom).
The 4th Funding Forum Plenary Panel I
The panel shared personal professional stories of their HEIs’ journeys in tackling financial uncertainty. It was quite refreshing to see how HEIs are moving, although I must admit this is a slow follow-up on some comprehensive business models, towards evidence-based decision-making via data mining and data-based intelligence. It is uplifting for me to witness the shift in HE leadership mindset, as my and Dr Gelareh Roushan’s PhD student, Claudia Vanzellotti, is exploring how for instance social media intelligence is embedded into small and medium sized enterprises’ (SMEs) strategic decision-making. In era of Big Data HEIs ought to observe trends around own sector but also other related and unrelated contexts which will spark ideas for efficient processes and funding models that will generate impact. Listening to students and open consented online conversations is also something educators should be doing in order to adapt pedagogical models and deliver effective and exciting education experiences.
Overall, attending the 4th Funding Forum had a number of immediate benefits for me:
Expansion of networks with various organisations (i.e. HEIs, governments, other public organisations and businesses);
A better understanding of the HE environment, challenges and future areas of consideration, critical for the UK HEIs operating in post-Brexit context;
Knowledge around the latest thinking in the debate around sources of funding for HEIs – the programme covered sessions around leadership, evaluation of economic impact of research activities, on how to develop income-generating partnerships, on designing institutional efficiency strategy, university management and overview of next generation of EU funding;
Feeding lessons learned on HE strategic directions into design of new UG and PG programmes across the Business School departments as well as within global engagement models we ought to consider.
Of course following BU’s Fusion I would like to reflect on some teaching and pedagogical lessons I gained from attending the 4th Funding Forum. In particular, I learnt about new TEL tool, Sli.do, that is alternative to Mentimeter and Kahoot and allows engaging large groups of students via Q&A feeders or group discussions to stimulate a better understanding and critical thinking around the content. I already experimented with the Sli.do during several talks in October/November 2018 period and found it easy to use, from both facilitator and audience perspectives. In addition I am planning to use the interviewing / conversational approach to Panel session discussions during the conference that Dr Kaouther Kooli, Dr Julie Robson and I are co-organising with the University of Manouba in Tunis this December.
Last but not least the training, funded by Erasmus+, enabled me to meet and network with the host institution’s colleagues. BU’s Business School has a long lasting and successful relationships in terms of staff and student mobility with the Universitat Ramon Llull (URL). URL is located in fantastic location, Barcelona, and has amazing facilities which are combined by modern architecture and historical buildings.
Quite impressed by Ramon Llull University campus. It is our Business School’s @BUAACSB1 current Erasmus partner so I recommend all students to consider coming and spending a semester abroad here @GlobalBUpic.twitter.com/K6zcm7qY9G
URL did truly amazing job with hosting the 4th Funding Forum, showcasing its facilities, professionalism of staff and students and warm hospitality of Catalonian capital.
Overall it has been an amazing experience, which will feed into many more exciting professional projects for me personally but also for the Department of Marketing, the Business School and BU. To conclude this post, I would like to leave you with this slide:
The 4th EUA Funding Forum: Presentation by Thomas Estermann
To survive, HEIs need to experiment, expand their external networks and defend their autonomy.
If you wish to experience something new, learn, network and enhance your knowledge in areas of research and/or education, and/or professional practice, I would highly recommend applying for the Erasmus+ Staff Mobility Training funding.
Elvira Bolat, Principal Academic in Marketing (The Business School), e-mail:email@example.com
Our BU briefing papers are designed to make our research outputs accessible and easily digestible so that our research findings can quickly be applied – whether to society, culture, public policy, services, the environment or to improve quality of life. They have been created to highlight research findings and their potential impact within their field.
With the European 2020 digital competence framework designed to address the huge EU digital skills gap, Higher Education Institutions have been challenged to incorporate these digital skills and facilitate institutional change towards enhancing technological learning.
This study describes a two‑spiral action research approach to explore the experience of one university and evaluates their approach to inform institutional e-Learning policy to meet the UK workforce gap in digital skills of workers.
The HE and Research Bill had its second reading in the House of Lords yesterday and has now moved to the Lords Committee stage – battle lines were drawn. It was a long debate, but if you weren’t able to watch it or follow the live tweeting, you can read the full debate in Hansard here. At the committee stage (no dates available yet) amendments will be tabled and discussed in great detail.
The Bill has only had government amendments approved so far, and there has been a lot of criticism (of and by everyone) of the level of scrutiny so far – with time being severely limited in committee and third reading stage in the Commons, with all opposition amendments rejected. But as you saw from my update on the third reading in the Commons, the debate there centered largely on Brexit, student visas, TEF, and loans (none of which are actually covered by the Bill), with very little actual focus on the bill itself.
It is expected that the Lords, while they will discuss those issues as well, will also focus on the bill itself, particularly on the changes to the research landscape, but also on degree awarding powers and other aspects of autonomy – and that was reflected yesterday, as well as discussions about the TEF.
UUK have update their briefing note to focus on what they want from the Lords – read it here – it lists the same 7 issues as for the House of Commons third reading, so it is interesting to see that they have flagged three in particular in a joint letter to the Guardian with GuildHE, calling for the Lords to amend the Bill to address probationary degree awarding powers, to stop the OfS validating degrees and to stop the government interfering in academic standards and course funding.
Lots of interesting developments in the UK last week while there has been a rather distracting international politics story abroad.
The government have launched two new consultations, one on loans for PGRs and another on maintenance loans for part-time students – both new and welcome developments – we will be preparing a response and I’ll link to the detailed questions next week for those interested in contributing. The deadline is 16 December.
Wonkhe also report that “Professor Ian Cumming, chief executive of Health Education England, has warned that universities and trusts would be responsible for funding the growing number of places on nursing training courses from 2018. The government ended the cap on nursing places by replacing nursing bursaries with student loans earlier this year, and Cumming predicts that the number of students applying for places on nursing courses will continue to rise. HEE has a ‘flat-cash’ level to fund placements within the NHS. However he says that money to fund extra places would “either be a deal with the NHS or using money from another source”. This could dash the government’s hopes of increasing the numbers of ‘home-grown’ NHS staff, rather than recruiting from abroad. You can read more in the Nursing Times here.”
Wonkhe report that the UPP Foundation has announced funding for a new research project on how universities can support students from lower socio-economic backgrounds to improve employment outcomes after university – see the full press release here.
And in other news
Our Pro-Vice Chancellor for Global Engagement, Dr Sonal Minocha, was with Jo Johnson, as part of the Prime Minister’s visit to India this week. There has been a lot of coverage of the impact of immigration restrictions on Indian students – see for example the BBC on 7th November, and BBC reality check.
I am giving a student briefing with SUBU on HE policy on Wednesday at 2.45 in the Barnes Lecture Theatre on Talbot Campus as part of Parliament Week – watch out for other events promoted by SUBU.
BIS have issued a statement on the HE and Research Bill. Do click on the link to view the statement in full. In terms of the Bill, BIS has said “As the prime minister set out last week, the government will continue taking forward the important legislation that was set before Parliament in the Queen’s speech, including the higher education and research bill,”.
Speaking at a House of Commons debate on 27 June, David Cameron said that all Horizon 2020 contracts “will be honoured for their duration”. “Science is an area in which we get more out from Europe than we put in and we’ll certainly want to safeguard that for the future,” Cameron said. An article explaining this further can be read on the Research Professional site.
The European Commission has also published the following statement: ‘Following the referendum result in the United Kingdom, DG Education and Culture, which is responsible for EU programmes such as Erasmus+, Creative Europe and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions, has received many questions from partners and participants. According to the Treaties which the United Kingdom has ratified, EU law continues to apply to the full to and in the United Kingdom until it is no longer a Member. This therefore also applies to the projects financed through the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions.’
Please do keep writing your funding applications to the EU and get in touch with the RKEO Funding Development Team for support.
Ahead of the Queen’s speech on 18 May, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has published a press statement outlining the main content of its white paper on higher education. In it BIS said that the government wanted to create a single organisation called UK Research and Innovation to bring together the seven research councils and Innovate UK under a single umbrella, although ensuring that the agencies retained “their identities and delegated budgets”.
At the same time BIS proposed stripping the Higher Education Funding Council for England of its research and knowledge exchange functions, including QR funding, which will be transferred to UK Research and Innovation.
By the end of the week, BU’s Policy and Public Affairs office will provide an analysis of what this means for the university, and what actions will follow. Keep an eye on the research blog for further news and details of internal workshops to be held. Wonkhe has published a blog outlining the ‘hopes and fears’ of the white paper which you can see here. The blog includes a comment from BU’s Jane Forster.
You can read a summary of the white paper in an article published by Research Professional.
Last week colleagues from BU’s Centre for Excellence in Media Practice (CEMP) and Centre for Excellence in Learning (CEL) won appointments to the newly approved Higher Education Academy (HEA) Associates programme. CEMP’s Director Julian McDougall, Head of CEMP’s Postgraduate Research Richard Berger, and CEMP Fellow Anna Feigenbaum from the Media School’s CMC will join the re-developed Academic Associates community. As Associates they will take part in research projects, event programming and developing the HEA’s UK and International consultancy. The HEA is the UK’s main provider of resources, events and workshops relating to learning and teaching in higher education, servicing 28 different disciplines. In addition to running its professional recognition Fellowship programme–that many BU staff are a part of–the Higher Education Academy also offers a robust funding scheme for education research and practice. Through their Academic Associate roles, Julian, Richard and Anna look forward to strengthening CEL and BU’s relationship with the HEA. Continuing CEMP’s track record of internationally recognised higher education research, this role will enhance the centre’s engagement in media education research consultancy, shaping innovative teaching practice and influencing HE policy.
This 2011 ICI-ECP Call for Proposals supports co-operation with Australia and the Republic of Korea by means of Joint Degree and Joint Mobility projects. Such projects focus on structured exchanges of students and faculty members; and on the joint development of joint, or shared curricula and joint study programmes, as well as on the award of joint or double degrees in the case of Joint Degree projects.
All Joint Degree and Joint Mobility projects must address: development of innovative international curricula; student services, language and cultural preparation; organisational frameworks for student mobility and faculty members’ mobility; evaluation; sustainability and dissemination.
The Call is open to consortia of higher education institutions in the case of Joint Degree Projects or vocational and training institutions in the case of Joint Mobility Projects. The total budget available amounts to approximately EUR 2.3 million.
The Green Paper aims to define a new framework for EU research and innovation funding for FP8 and the Consultation relates to the ECs plans to adopt a new communication on the modernisation of higher education in the third quarter of 2011.
EUA sees the development of the European Research Area and European Higher Education Area as being crucially linked if Europe’s universities are to play their full part in contributing to the achievement of the Europe 2020 objectives.
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