Let the wonderful moments roll

November 9, 2006

Name : Sandra Griffiths. Age: 57. Jobs: Senior lecturer in education at Ulster University and National Teaching Fellow. As president of the All-Ireland Society for Higher Education I work with staff from universities across Ireland who share a common interest in advancing effective practice in learning and teaching.

Salary : Senior lecturer scale.

Practical training/education : I took a degree in education at what is now Stranmillis University College in Belfast. After a couple of rewarding years teaching in further education I went to Bath University to complete a higher degree. My research looked at how to widen the participation rates of those living in local communities in Northern Ireland. I am also qualified in counselling and theology.

Working hours : From 8am to about 5pm. Lots of irregular days, driving to other campuses and travelling in the UK, Ireland and internationally. I also work evenings on an e-learning module.

Number of students you work with : Primarily, I work with our own staff, teachers in higher education and also staff from further education colleges in classes ranging from 20 to 70 in number. I supervise teaching practice and masters-level study.

Biggest challenge this year : We were inspected by the Department of Education, Northern Ireland, so that instead of working on my National Teaching Fellowship project I was writing and delivering an e-learning module.

How you solved it? I am now concentrating on my project.

Worst moment of university life : I'd rather discuss the wonderful moments. I am fascinated by how people learn and find it very rewarding when students progress and are inspired. Increasingly, I find that students act strategically to complete their course in the most efficient way with maximum grades. Acknowledging their strategic motivations, I still aim to foster a deep approach to learning.

Who are the most difficult people? Everyone has the potential to be good or difficult to work with.

Do you socialise with people at the university? I have the occasional lunch or coffee with colleagues in our school. Northern Ireland is like a village and some of my closest friends work in the university.

Do you interact much with other parts of the university? A lot. For seven years I was director of educational development and before that I helped set up and lead a staff development service.

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