National Teaching Fellow 2013
During her time at Sunderland Dr Wendy Thorley has been involved in several programmes as a consultant and programme leader.
These include: Applied Family Studies, Early Years Professional Status, Foundation Degree in Education and Care, BA (Hons) Education and Care, Higher Level Teaching Assistant and collaborative partnerships with further education colleges and Local Authority organisations for continuing professional development (CPD). She has led her department in developing the use of technological innovations to enhance the student learning experience. Her innovative use of virtual learning environments for network peer and tutor support and the collection of student feedback has been commended by external examiners.
Starting her career in the NHS, Wendy undertook a range of CPD initiatives to develop her teaching and learning expertise. She gained professional experience in compulsory education, and then in Local Authority Social Services Human Resource Department (HRD) related programmes and further education before moving into higher education. Her ability to incorporate a multi-agency perspective to her teaching is recognised and appreciated both by her students and her colleagues:
“...Dr Thorley … has made an invaluable contribution to the learning experience of a wide range of students...she is committed to extending their learning by stimulating their curiosity and interest.” (Ms Margaret Parsons, Team Leader: Childhood Programmes).
“The University … recognised the unique contribution Dr Thorley could make to raising the quality of our programmes and to enabling our undergraduate students to achieve to the best of their ability.” (Ms M Stephenson, Associate Dean, Student Experience)
In addition to her teaching commitments Wendy incorporated fund-raising activities with students, their families and communities to promote student identity with their programme, University and emerging professional identities. The success of this initiative has been recognised in several recent publications including Enhancing the undergraduate student experience via fund raising partnerships: An action research project (forthcoming, Education Action Research) and ‘What Works? Student retention and success programme’ research project (2012, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, HEFCE). She is highly regarded within her institution and across voluntary and statutory organisations locally and regionally.
Senior Lecturer in Childhood Studies
University of Sunderland