Teacher audit

April 15, 2005

* Name: Deborah Murdoch Eaton

* Age: 45

* Job details: I am a practising paediatrician specialising in rehabilitation after acquired brain injury, and also professor in medical education at Leeds University, where I am director of student support for the School of Medicine. I also run the student-selected components part of the undergraduate medical course, which aims to develop lifelong learning skills.

* Salary: £70,000

* Background: MBBS, London University, 1983; postgraduate doctorate in neonatal neurology, London, 1993; medical education qualification via distance learning, Dundee University, 1994; appointed paediatric consultant in Leeds in 1995 with simultaneous new post as senior lecturer in medical education; promoted to chair in 2002. National Teaching Fellowship award 2004.

* Working conditions: I work about 50-plus hours a week, often longer if I am away.

* Number of students taught: I supervise postgraduate and undergraduate students, take small-group sessions and give lectures to whole-year groups of about 0 students.

* Biggest challenge this year: Developing an electronic progress file for medics to help ensure they get the right jobs for their particular skills and interests.

* How did you solve it?

We're not there yet - we just got a £40,000 grant to develop this further with other Leeds faculties.

* What is your office like?

Better than it was - I now have my own office rather than sharing a space in the medical school, but it has no window.

* Do you socialise with people at the university: I have a five-year-old daughter and a husband who get my social time.

* Most difficult students: There is an increase in demands from students who view themselves as paying clients. It can be difficult balancing this with the demands on National Health Service clinicians who also teach. Many doctors find that teaching students is at the bottom of their priorities.Those of us organising teaching juggle to ensure there are enough teachers and also help address students' difficulties if teaching sessions have to be cancelled.

* Best excuses for bad behaviour: I enjoyed: "Please can I have an extension because I am planning a surprise Valentine weekend for my girlfriend?"

* Do you interact with other departments: Interaction has mostly been in collaborative educational research. The Medical Education Unit is leading on a £2.5 million Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning grant, developing work-based learning assessment materials within our health faculty and four other higher education institutions. Interaction has mostly been in collaborative educational research. Medical students also do projects in other faculties, such as languages, as well as some exciting projects with outside agencies such as West Yorkshire Police.

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