Dr Dawn Watkins commenced her academic career after completing a PhD in Law and Literature. This interdisciplinary theme has characterised much of her teaching. In particular, she has sought to both explore and utilise the interrelationship between law and narratives as a means to engage students with their learning - going so far as to arrange for ‘real life’ high-profile litigants to come in to talk to law students and share their stories.
Most recently, she has conducted a small-scale study into the role of narrative and metaphor in student feedback and will be applying the knowledge gained from this study to develop her practice. This information will also be shared with the University of Leicester and Dawn will take opportunities to disseminate and discuss her findings with colleagues across the sector at relevant conferences.
Impact of work
Throughout her career Dawn has sought to embrace technology by constantly exploring ways in which it can be used to enhance and transform the student learning experience. She has been at the forefront of adopting innovative techniques and encourages others to do so. Examples include initiating the podcasting of lectures in the law school, piloting and championing a University lecture capture system and using Participoll to facilitate interaction with students in a large lecture setting. She has also ventured outside of the academy by developing and using a digital game to explore children’s understanding of law in their everyday lives (see www.le.ac.uk/licl). The findings of this study will contribute to the much-needed evidence base in public legal education (PLE) and anticipates that much of her work will be PLE-focused in the future.
Plans for the future
In recent years she has been invited to contribute to the development of policies and systems that support and facilitate learning while at the same time remaining strongly committed to building capacity within people to bring about positive change for themselves and others. So whilst she anticipates that her work in the future will become increasingly strategic, it will be determinedly collaborative in approach and involve working with academic, professional and student colleagues in order to effect positive change.
University of Leicester