Dr Samantha Pugh

As Faculty Lead for Teaching Enhancement and a Lecturer in STEM Education Dr Samantha Pugh has an outstanding track record for developing context-based learning and working in partnership with students in the Physical Sciences.

She is renowned for inspiring and mentoring colleagues to shape teaching through pedagogic research and scholarship at Leeds and beyond. Her contribution to the sector was recognised with the award of University Student Education Fellowships in 2012 and 2014.

She has secured over £300k in teaching development grants from the National HE STEM Programme (HE STEM), Higher Education Academy (HEA), the Institute of Physics (IoP), the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and the Universities of York and Leeds, to lead educational enhancement. Success has wholly relied on her ability to lead and inspire colleagues and students.

Impact of work

Samantha’s teaching philosophy focuses on student employability. It emphasises the skills and attributes needed for a successful career and students’ ability to articulate those attributes. To this end, she has pioneered the use of reflective writing in Physical Sciences at Leeds. Samantha is sector-leading in embedding enterprise and entrepreneurship within the Maths and Physical Sciences curriculum gaining widespread recognition when she was a finalist for the NCEE Enterprise Educator in HE in 2014. She established innovative Industrial Advisory Boards (IABs) in Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics - working collaboratively with employers, to inform curriculum development, increase the number of visiting lecturers, develop new learning resources and create summer internships for students with regional employers.

In 2015, Samantha established, and now co-leads the Pedagogic Research in Science and Mathematics Group (PRiSM). The group consists of academics from across STEM that champion evidence-based curriculum development, pioneer undergraduate research in STEM Education, support undergraduate education research summer internships and organise practitioners’ seminars. Additionally, Samantha has created golden opportunities for students and less experienced colleagues to engage with externally-funded teaching development projects.

Plans for the future

Looking ahead, Samantha has secured a prestigious ‘Leeds Excellence and Innovation Fellowship’ sabbatical at the Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence. Her flagship project will ‘Rethink Assessment in Higher Education by learning from Secondary Education.’ Samantha believes that synoptic assessment is the key to enhancing the career prospects of university graduates.

Job title: 
Lecturer in STEM Education
Institution or Organisation: 
University of Leeds
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