Saturday, July 04, 2009

Professorial Lecture

Entry for 19 June 2009:

When the current Dean of Strathclyde’s Faculty of Education arrived 2.5 years ago, she proposed a series of professional lectures. Mine took place this past Thursday, during the Parttime course’s final intensive week, and served as my inaugural lecture. I debated for months about what to pick for my topic, until I heard Tom Bryce’s lecture in March, on science education. I said to myself, “That’s interesting – I’m doing science education, too. Why don’t I piggy back on Tom’s presentation, and talk about the research methods curriculum development work I’ve been doing over the past three years.”

Because it was a mixed audience, and my topic – not just research methods, but teaching research methods – was potentially quite dry, I spent a lot of time dressing it up with graphics and jokes. I worked pretty hard on it. In the end, the Powerpoint slides amount to 16 MB, too big to email or upload onto our research community’s Google Group site. (Too many high rez photos...)

I was delighted that representatives showed up from all four of the courses that I teach research methods to: PGDip Counselling, MSc, Counselling Psychology, and PhDs. There was also a scattering of colleagues, and the Dean, the Vice-Dean for Research, and some lecturers/professors from elsewhere in the Faculty. Diane and Lorna both reported that the last group were taking notes; afterwards, they said they were pleased and envisaged further discussions of the issues I’d raised.

I’d been quite anxious about the presentation, because of the unknown, mixed nature of the audience, so I felt much lighter afterwards. I’d developed a new, more entertaining style of Powerpoint presentation, and said some provocative and rather challenging things, which appeared to have been well-received. John McLeod came down from Dundee especially for the occasion, and did an inspired job of introducing me and saying how wonderful I was. While this sort of this is always good for the ego, mostly I felt touched by his going to the effort and how carefully he tried to support me. Finally, I felt inspired by how many of my students showed up, and they also felt inspired to be recognized and to see the overall framework into which their respective inputs fit, along with the philosophy behind it.

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