Staff Newspaper of Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine
IC Reporter
  Issue 89, 11 February 2000
Educational development gets set for a revamp «
Boing-Boing springs to life «
Two Colleges unite to make medical history «
Athnet launches «
New chief executive of IRSL at Hammersmith Hospital «
College telephone number changes planned «
Now we are five «
Helen Smith returns to Imperial «
Creating Sparks is set to light up South Kensington «
Sinfonic triumphs take centre stage in 2000 «
Regular Features
In Brief «
Media Mentions «
Noticeboard «
The view from the tower «

Educational development gets set for a revamp

Noise is very much on the agenda for Heather Fry, Imperial's new ambassador of the centre for educational development.

Heather Fry
Heather Fry, head of educational development at Imperial, settles into her new office
Surrounded by bright orange crates, paint-spattered step ladders and a floor covered with dust sheets, drilling and hammering are never far away.

Fortunately she's a positive lady. So her office in the basement at 13 Prince's Gardens resembles a building site - at least the shelves have gone up, the painting has begun and before long she'll have a permanent telephone line, answerphone and email address installed.

"I've the opportunity to be part of something new and help shape it - that's what I'm looking forward to," she smiles.

"I've the chance to draw together all the very good work that's going on here and bring it together in a slightly different context because a lot of external things that affect this area are changing.

"The centre will build upon all Imperial's existing developments. I'll be seeking opinions after March about how it can best support educational development - once I've got the builders out."

Librarians, academics, students and laboratory technicians could be forming an orderly queue outside her door. Heather's brief is to play a part in successfully implementing Imperial's learning and teaching strategy. It's a full but challenging agenda which provides, she says, a nice mixture of development work and research, and the chance to help members of staff enhance their skills and understanding of student learning and teaching in higher education.

The centre will provide a focus for many College activities and aims to work collaboratively with departments, divisions and centres and run workshops and courses in teaching and learning.

Approximately six new and existing staff working in educational development and medical education will form the core, and a new post for lecturer in educational development with expertise in IT teaching and learning will be created.

It will also build on the schemes of the educational development coordinators and LINKED, London Imperial Network for Educational Development.

"This is Tim Clark's brainchild. We'll be seeking to support new and experienced staff who wish to seek membership of the Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.

"We'll also be fostering educational research, supporting curriculum development and will work generally to support Imperial's excellent reputation for teaching."

Heather took her first degree in history, politics and economics at Lanchester Polytechnic, now Coventry University.

"I always said the last thing I'd ever do was teach but that's what I've done in one form or another for the last 25 years.

"I got into education like many academics as a totally untrained teacher being thrust into a situation in which I had to teach. As a VSO in Nigeria, I was sent to a teacher training college at 21."

She remained in Nigeria as a history lecturer at the University of Maiduguri for three years where she learned 'not to be phased by anything.'

She has jointly edited 'A handbook for teaching and learning in Higher Education enhancing academic practice' and has started work on the second.

Imperial is her 'third bit' of working within the University of London. She was employed by the Institute of Education in the centre for higher education studies and was senior lecturer in medical and dental education at Queen Mary and Westfield College where she was co-director for the College's certificate in academic practice.

"I'm somebody who's always been involved in mixing my own research and teaching. Now my teaching has become working with members of staff.

"The centre will work best if it helps people develop their own teaching, learning and courses in directions they've set. We plan to continue working with the best research available. A focal point of the centre is to ensure that Imperial isn't overly led by external events but is very much able to follow its own agenda."

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© Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, 2000
11 February 2000