National Teaching Fellow 2014
Institution at the time of award: University of Bradford
Dr Claire Surr is Professor of Dementia Studies at Leeds Beckett University. She developed her academic career at the University of Bradford, joining the University in 1998 as a research assistant and progressing to her current role as Reader and Head of Education Programmes within her department. During that time she has taken on a variety of roles including programme leader for the department’s Foundation degree, BSc and postgraduate programmes.
Claire has a passion for developing learning and teaching approaches designed to meet the diverse needs of the health and social care dementia workforce. Her methods are founded on the principles of education for sustainable development; ensuring students have a personal toolkit of analytic, innovation and problem solving skills, which help them to meet the complex care needs of people with dementia.
A particular focus of her work at Bradford has been the introduction of Web 2.0 technologies and social media to distance learning teaching, in order to create vibrant learning communities. Her leadership in this area has enabled her to become a catalyst for change divisionally and institutionally, resulting in an enhanced student experience. Her innovative work on the direct involvement of people living with dementia, known as experts by experience, in teaching and summative assessment has placed the experience of living with dementia at the heart of educational content enabling students to enhance their skills in analysis of practice and the fostering of innovative approaches to care. This has also proved a rewarding experience for the experts, as one of them noted:
“It helps me to keep active in mind and spirit. What we are doing is helping people to be better professional carers and it is an honour for me to be involved.”
Claire has translated these effective practices to developing transformational education programmes for the care home workforce, which have been described as a ‘global benchmark’. They have been rolled out to inform the practice of over 11,000 staff in one large care provider organisation.
Claire has embraced opportunities to continually develop her practice through student feedback evaluation and has had the opportunity to disseminate her work nationally and internationally through conference presentations and publication.
As of February 2015, Claire moved to Leeds Beckett University to take up the role of Professor of Dementia Studies.