Elena joined the Graduate School in February 2015 as a Teaching Fellow. She is now Senior Teaching Fellow and within her role she is the led-teacher and director of the Research Communication Programme, and the director of Global Fellows Programmes with Technical University of Munich, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) and University of Ghana.
Global experiences in higher education contexts
Elena has 15 years’ international experience in the Higher Education sector. She speaks and has studied in three languages - Italian, French and English. Her studies focussed on ecology: she graduated from the Università degli Studi di Milano (Italy) with a Master’s degree in “Natural Sciences”, with a research project in glacial geomorphology and lacustrine ecology, followed by a second Master’s at the Université de Savoie (France), improving her earlier research with international data. She obtained a joint-tutored PhD in “Natural and Environmental Sciences” (Università degli Studi di Milano) and in “Population and Ecosystem Biology” (Université de Savoie), working and developing her background in Freshwater Ecology and genetics.
She has held a range of international post-doctoral positions from 2006 to 2015. As a post-doctoral researcher, she worked in genetics applied to freshwater ecology at KU Leuven (Belgium, 2006) and at Université de Savoie (2007). From 2008 to 2011 she worked as a Research Associate for the Nematode project for the European Space Agency, Thales Alenia Space Italia and Università degli Studi di Milano. This was followed by a position at Ulster University (Northern Ireland) from 2012 to 2015 working on the Development of Lake Management Tools (Dolmant project).
Teaching strategy: active learning
Elena started teaching in 2001 in order to pass on to students her passion for ecology and science, and has been involved in the supervision of both undergraduate and Master’s students. Since then she applied active learning strategies as she considers that effective teaching mainly depends on the engagement and interest in the subject that can be inspired in learners. Her teaching is represented by this comment from her PhD supervisor: “Just keep in mind that it [teaching] is a dynamic equilibrium as internal (you) and external (your audience) conditions are always changing resulting in the equilibrium being put in jeopardy” (Prof. D. Fontvieille – December 2015).
Her experiences led her to become a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2016). She has a MEd in “University Learning and Teaching” (2018), obtained with a project on the students’ perceptions of active learning strategies. Following this research project, she has worked to increase her understanding of the effect of learning environment and past learning experiences on the students’ engagement in active learning contexts.
To see her publications please visit her ResearchGate page: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Elena_Forasacco.